City opposing closing of historic post office

May 17, 2011 10:11:31 AM PDT
A downtown Raleigh landmark that has been in service continually for nearly 135 years is set to be shutdown.The Century Post Office at the Federal Building on Fayetteville Street has been in operation since 1878 -- it was actually the first post office built in the south following the Civil War.

Now, the US Postal Service says it wants to close the office in mid-July, citing a 20 percent decline in mail volume and lost revenue of $8.5 billion in the last two years.

However many people, including Raleigh Mayor Charles Meeker, say they see the office has a historic downtown institutional landmark.

The mayor held a press conference voicing the City's opposition to the proposed closing Tuesday on the steps of the Federal Building.

"We're gathered here this morning to ask the United States Postal Service to reconsider its decision to close Century Station," Meeker said. "This is one of the most actively used post offices here in eastern North Carolina."

The mayor cited the history of the building, and its famous architect, as a reason to keep it open.

He also pointed out that it was restored a few years ago and is needed in a busy business district. Meeker says parking is a concern for employees, but that can be addressed.

"The City is more than willing to help," he said. "We've got lots of parking nearby, we can solve that problem."

However, a spokesperson for the Postal Service tells ABC11 that they do not receive tax dollars therefore, they are reviewing facilities and combining when possible.

If it does close, all services will be moved to the New Bern Aveune post office less than a mile down the road.

But Meeker says he is hoping that he and his supporters can put enough pressure on the US Postal Service to rewrite the history of the Century Post Office.

An online community of bloggers have also been working to gather support for the effort. They're urging people to reach out to their congressmen and elected officials to save the post office.

In the meantime, Meeker plans to ask the city council to pass a resolution of support and says a meeting is set for next week to discuss the closing of the post office.

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