Historic Downtown Topeka Post Office Will Close

WIBW/Eric Ives

TOPEKA, Kan (WIBW)-- The historic downtown Topeka post office will close the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) confirmed in a letter to Mayor Larry Wolgast. In the letter, dated April 25, USPS Vice-President of Facilities Tom Samra said the postal service will find a new location within the same zip code.

He also addressed the historical considerations raised by some people opposed to the closure. The post office was the location for part of the Brown v. Board of Education trials. Samra pointed to several sections of the National Historic Preservation Act that requires it to "avoid, minimize or mitigate any adverse effects on historic properties."

"The City will continue to work with the USPS and all appropriate parties to ensure that the facility is reused in a manner that promotes the economic vitality of downtown, the City of Topeka and Shawnee County," the City of Topeka said in a statement following the release of the USPS letter.

"The City will also work to ensure that the historic nature of the property, especially the courtroom associated with the historic Brown v. Board landmark decision, is preserved and celebrated. City officials have been, and will continue to be, engaged in conversations focused on addressing this challenge."

Samra said the Postal Service would relocate to a new location within the same zip code - which has not been identified yet. A statement from a USPS spokesperson assured the city it would "only consider relocation sites that are convenient and otherwise suitable for our customers and that will meet all postal operational needs"

Samra continued by reminding Topeka that the USPS operations are not supported by tax dollars and must be self-sufficient. Therefore, he said they "must make decisions that ensure it provides adequate and affordable postal services in a manner that is as efficient as possible."

The Postal Service said the current downtown post office will remain open until the new location is open and functioning as a post office.