Downtown Cresco, IA mailboxes stir up business owners

New CBU mailboxes put up by the Cresco United States Postal Service have business owners upset as the boxes were installed without any warning and little to no communication.

CRESCO – With a crowd of approximately 35, business/building owners gathered at the Monday Cresco City Council meeting to voice their opinions about centralized box units (CBUs) installed downtown.

Led by Paul Lovell, co-owner of Cresco Bicycles, the group expressed problems with the boxes and how they may have “degraded” their downtown.

“We have two main concerns,” stated Lovell at the meeting. “First, we are concerned about the location and the appearance of the CBUs. They are unattractive and have been described as ‘ugly,’ ‘ghetto,’ ‘institutional,’ and ‘trailer park.’ They also provide yet another obstacle for pedestrians traffic and snow removal. Business owners with CBUs in front of their businesses also have questions of liability.”

He went on to state that the “second concern” was the “lack of communication” between the City Council, the U.S. Postal Service and downtown business owners.

“Decisions were made that impacted the appearance and function of the downtown without any notification or public input,” added Lovell. “I originally had prepared and planned for a fight, but after a recent call, I have prepared for a solution and look forward to a positive meeting.”Lovell had contacted USPS Hawkeye District Manager Jim Hermann and they had a “productive conversation” agreeing that communication has been a problem.”I told Jim that we are not necessarily opposed to the use of CBUs, just their locations and appearance,” continued Lovell. “As business owners, we are well aware of the budget constraints and challenges facing the USPS and we know change is needed. We are more than willing to work together to improve delivery efficiency and help the USPS.”

Suggested was to:

1). Form an advisory committee consisting of the postmaster, a letter carrier, a city representative, a downtown apartment resident and two business owners. The committee would develop a plan to maximize efficiency without harming downtown aesthetics. The plan would be subject to public review and then be approved by the City Council and USPS.
2). Remove CBUs south of 200 block of North Elm Street.
3). Temporarily allow CBUs on 200 block of North Elm Street to remain until final plan is developed.
4). Postmaster and Council to move proactively and form a committee to improve efficiency of residential mail delivery. Committee should represent the community and include the elderly, handicapped and other citizens that may have special needs.

Lovell went on to give an apology to Rod Freidhof (City Public Works Director) and Mary Stivers (Postmaster).

“I am very passionate about downtown Cresco and its potential. Unfortunately, that passion blinded me from the fact that I’m dealing with good people, but in a bad situation. In conclusion, my hope is that we can all move forward.”

Postmaster Stivers also spoke at the meeting, stating she did a lot of research before installing the CBUs, but did apologize that she failed to do more communication.

Jim Holstrom, a resident and business owner, also spoke at the meeting as well as a representative of USPS.

All in all, the Council did approve putting together a committee as suggested by Lovell.

via Cresco Times > News > Downtown mailboxes stir up business owners.

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