First reported 6/11/2009 5:17 p.m.
Residents and U.S. Postal Service customers are being notified that the community’s lone post office will be put on the market, but a spokesperson for the federal agency said customers shouldn’t worry.
Until the Desplaines Avenue site is sold, Forest Parkers can still expect to buy stamps, rent a post office box and ship packages from the Forest Park location, according to Tim Ratliff, a spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service. Nothing will change in Forest Park from a customer service standpoint, he said.
“At this point, it’s business as usual at that location,” Ratliff said.
According to an undated notice to residents, after a building sale mail delivery operations would be moved to an Oak Park office at 1116 Garfield. That move is intended to save the Postal Service money. Ratliff, however, said that change is contingent upon selling the property on Desplaines.
The postmaster for the Oak Park location, Tara Fowler, said she was not aware of any changes being made to her office.
Gloria Gayden, postmaster for the station at 417 Desplaines, said she has not been given any timelines for proposed changes and knows little more than what residents are being told. Gayden said she is not expecting employees to be laid off.
According to the statement from the post office, and confirmed by Ratliff, future plans for Forest Park service hinge largely on the sale of the building. The Postal Service intends to maintain its presence in the downtown area, said Ratliff, and ideally would purchase or lease other property. Moving delivery operations into another facility helps to cut costs and eliminates the need for a larger building.
Financial losses are forcing the USPS to cut costs. Post offices in Geneva, Lake Forest and Lake Zurich are also on the market for purchase. The agency announced earlier this week that it will auction a vacant 3 million-square-foot facility in Chicago this summer. Ratliff said he could not immediately confirm the asking price for the Forest Park property.
“The post office is not closing,” Ratliff said of the Desplaines Avenue branch. “There might be a change in venue.”