Roughly 20 residents spoke in favor Wednesday of keeping the East Dedham post office because of handicap access, parking and convenience.
The East Dedham office is being considered to close due to a steady decline in revenue over the last three years, a decrease in customer traffic and the proximity of another post office and places to buy stamps, according to Mike Foley, post office discontinuance coordinator.
“We would not be doing our jobs if we just sat here and buried our head in the sand,” said Foley.
East Dedham’s post office turned a $138,000 profit last year, but has been in a steady decline over the course of the last three years. The criteria for the post office to stay open is $600,000 profit, but Paul Kilduff, general president of Boston Metro American Postal Workers Union, believes that East Dedham may have never profited this much.
Kilduff recommended to residents that they call their congressmen and explain why it does not make sense to close the post office. He noted that the government wouldn't be saving money in employee costs because the employees of the post office will just be shifted to other areas.
“I say stand up tonight, say your peace and tell them not to close the place,” said Kilduff.
And stand up they did, with about 20 residents giving specific reasons for their displeasure about the possibility of the post office closing. Foley explained that East Dedham is not being singled out, and that 3,700 around the country are being considered for closing. He said that in the area, this includes post offices in Hyde Park, Arlington, Newton and Duxbury.
Stephen Bodenlos, a resident, spoke out about the possible closing, noting that the situation in Dedham Square regarding traffic and parking is only going to get worse within the upcoming year due to the revamping of Dedham Square, scheduled to begin next spring.
Molly Davis, among other residents, said that they will take their business elsewhere if the post office closes. She noted that the parking situation at the larger post office in Dedham Square is terrible, especially for elderly or disabled people, and that it is difficult to bring large packages.
“To be honest with you, I’d rather see you close the one in the Square rather than this one,” said Davis.
The office in the Square has just one handicapped parking space - across the street from the office, residents pointed out.
Other residents simply said it's more conveinent, efficeint and quicker to visit the East Dedham post office. Some said they would begin using FedEx due to the convenience, even though it will be more expensive.
Russ Poole, a resident, said despite living far away from the East Dedham location, he would rather go there than Dedham Square. Overall, he said that the reason for the closing is due to money. He recommended that in Washington, D.C. they start at the top and work down to make cuts.
“It’s always starting at the bottom and making cuts,” said Poole. “This isn’t where the problem is. Let’s be honest, the problem starts at the top.”
Kilduff said that after hearing the testimonies made at the meeting, he will personally check the safety aspects of the Dedham Square post office.
“As president of Boston Metro, you have my word that I will be in that area to check it,” said Kilduff.
The earliest the post office would be closing would be February of 2012, Foley said.
He recommended that residents fill out a survey that can be found at the East Dedham post office.