Mail closure in Tucson could save postal service, but cost region millions

By Amelia Goe – April 30, 2015
A half dozen customers patiently wait in line at the Cherrybell post office in Tucson. It’s quiet on this weekday morning.

But just through the double doors to the right and behind the security checkpoint, workers are processing millions of pieces of mail.

It’s a scene that may soon come to a close.

While 2.6 million pieces of mail come through the Tucson processing and distribution center daily, volume has dropped nearly 5 percent from 2014. The decrease is one reason U.S. Postal Service officials put Tucson on their nationwide consolidation list.

The agency had planned to close down the processing center on Jan. 5. But officials delayed the move until July 11.

Elected leaders from U.S. representatives to city councilmembers – have fought the closure since September 2011, when the service announced it would consolidate more than 82 post offices across the country.

Although Cherrybell would still offer postal services – like accepting packages and delivering mail – it would stop processing mail, much of it originating in southern Arizona. The pieces would have to travel 112 miles to Phoenix, or farther, for processing. One study indicated the economic loss for Tucson would reach tens of millions of dollars.

But the postal service said the consolidation will save billions nationwide.

Tucson officials and business leaders said they feel confident their efforts could prolong or stop the downsizing.

Over the past three years, the postal service has begun shifting the processing of its mail from Tucson to Phoenix. Residents are starting to realize the impact it’s having on the city and speaking out, community members said.

Arizona is one of the nation’s Top 10 fastest growing states, and business owners said they worry that losing a mailing facility will have negative impacts.

Councilman Richard Fimbres said businesses looking to move to Tucson will look to see if it has a central mailing center to deliver products and services. If it doesn’t, he said he worries new businesses won’t invest in the city.

Read more: Mail closure in Tucson could save postal service, but cost region millions – Cronkite News

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