The long reported retreat of the U.S. Postal Service from Forest Park continues. The letter carriers have all recently been displaced from the handsome and historic post office on Desplaines Ave. to the large and modern facility hugging the Eisenhower in Oak Park.
All that’s left on Desplaines are customer service windows where you can buy stamps, ship a box, or rent a P.O. Box. And those functions will eventually shift to a rented storefront in Forest Park once the postal service sells off its 1937 WPA building on Desplaines.
It is good news that the postal service has committed to remaining in Forest Park, even in a limited form.
Shifting the actual mail delivery service to the next town over likely won’t improve the chronically complained about level of service.
The Desplaines Ave. building is a unique challenge and opportunity for redevelopment. The conclusion seems clear that the post office is a landmark structure with protections inherent to that designation.
Given the decimated market for new commercial development patience and creativity are called for. These old post offices are rock solid and lovely in their detail. We’ve seen such structures, usually in excellent locations as in Forest Park, converted into restaurants, office complexes, and, even, in suburban Des Plaines into the headquarters of the local newspaper.
Helping to find the right developer is a role the village government will certainly take on. This building is a great opportunity for a developer with the vision to create something new and bold from something old and elegant.