The U.S. Postal Service is moving forward with plans to sell Topeka's Main Post Office location in downtown Topeka.
USPS Real Estate Specialist Angela Kuhl sent a letter to Topeka Mayor Larry Wolgast and City Manager Jim Colson dated January 29, informing him of the decision. Councilman Chad Manspeaker shared the letter on Twitter Monday morning.
The letter from the USPS about the downtown Topeka Post Office closing. pic.twitter.com/YBLGNMcr68— Chad Manspeaker (@manspeaker) February 3, 2014
Regional spokesperson Brian Sperry confirmed the news. He said the decision is part of USPS' efforts to improve efficiencies and reduce costs.
The postal service announced in early January that it was looking to sell its building and parking lot at 424 S. Kansas Ave. It would then move those operations to a smaller, leased location in the same area.
Dozens of people turned out at a community meeting to protest the plan, many citing the historic significance of the building. The second floor is home to the former federal courtroom where justices heard arguments in the Brown vs. Board of Education case on school segregation.
Sperry said postal officials considered input from the community meeting as well as customer feedback in arriving at their decision. There is now a 30-day period for people to comment on or appeal the decision. Sperry says those may be addressed to Vice President, Facilities, c/o Facilities Implementation, 7500 E. 53rd Place, Room 1108, Denver, CO, 80266-9918.
The building is valued at $7 million.
Complete statement from Brian Sperry, USPS Regional Spokesperson:
The Postal Service is looking at its facilities and trying to find ways to become more efficient and reduce costs given the losses incurred over the last few years in terms of mail volume and revenues.
First-Class Mail volume is down 33 percent since 2006. The Postal Service lost $15.9 billion in fiscal year 2012, $5 billion last fiscal year and the USPS forecasts the losses to continue as more Americans use digital communications and pay their bills online. The Postal Service must adapt to Americans changing mailing habits. Business as usual is not an option.
The USPS continues to review all aspects of its operations to increase efficiency, including underused facilities.
After holding a community meeting and reviewing customer feedback, The Postal Service has made an initial decision to relocate retail services at the Topeka Main Post Office to a smaller leased location within the current ZIP Code area. That location has yet to be determined. Internal operations at the Topeka Main Post Office would be relocated to nearby facilities, and the Postal Service would look to sell the building and nearby parking lot across the street, which it owns.
While an initial decision has been made, there will be a 30-day period to comment or appeal the decision. At the conclusion of the 30-days, any comments or appeal would be considered prior to a final decision. Appeals can be addressed to Vice President, Facilities, c/o Facilities Implementation, 7500 E. 53rd Place, Room 1108, Denver, CO, 80266-9918.
The Postal Service has been and continues to review all of its facilities to identify more efficient and cost saving opportunities. The Postal Service no longer needs such a large facility in downtown Topeka, and can take advantage of underused space in nearby facilities. It doesn't make sense to stay in a facility that we no longer need.
Our commitment to customer service remains a top priority. We will continue to provide the dependable service our customers need. Mail delivery in the area would not be impacted, and customers would likely continue to use the same Post Office Box number in their address.