Grassy Creek residents hope to stave off a decision by the United States Postal Service that would see the community lose its post office. A petition signed by over 20 percent of Grassy Creek residents hopes to influence the Postal Service to keep the office open.
“I think a lot of residents feel like, ‘What’s the point?’” said Carrie McClain, a Grassy Creek resident and organizer of the petition to save the post office. “I think there’s more than a few that feel like we don’t have any say in the matter.”
McClain said they have collected 101 signatures since the campaign began in a community of just over 500. She said a letter writing campaign has also been initiated; 12 different letters have been mailed by various Grassy Creek residents to Represenative Virginia Foxx, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners, and Interim Ashe County Manager Dr. Patricia Mitchell, though Foxx was the only one who has responded to date.
“She basically said she was looking into the matter,” said McClain.
Grassy Creek residents were told by the Postal Service during an August meeting they had until Nov. 2 to submit their opinions for comment; the Postal Service would then make the decision to keep or close the office. After that time, residents would be notified whether the office will be maintained or close, and an appeals process would then be initiated that would allow the community to voice its opinion on the decision.
“We really hope they don’t close the office,” said McClain. “But we realize we don’t have a lot of power as a community.”
Currently, the Grassy Creek Post Office serves some 500 local residents and processes just under 1,000 pieces of mail per day. The office houses 38 post office boxes, 22 of which are currently rented out, or about 58 percent.
The Postal Service has been considering numerous options to make its services more competitive in the digital age, and cut services, like rural post offices, that operate at a loss. As more businesses utilize the Internet for their communications, first class mail has taken a hit. Combined with ever more competitive package delivery services by UPS and FedEx, the Postal Service is set to lose some $8.3 billion this year alone.
The Postal Service hopes to save some $200 million by eliminating some as yet unknown number of post offices, according to Postal Service Communications Coordinator Monica Robb.
Grassy Creek’s post office was designated for possible closure after looking at revenue generation, revenue trends over the past four years, customer accessibility to other locations within a specific geographical area, and operating costs and savings that would come from the elimination of the location.