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Postal Service to Discuss Post Offices in Hartland



Valley News Correspondent
Friday, November 03, 2017

Hartland — Officials with the United States Postal Service are looking to bring a third post office back to town — in some form, anyway.

Later this month, a representative with the Postal Service will be holding a public meeting to solicit possible sites for a retail postal facility to replace the one in Hartland Four Corners that closed in late 2015.

The part-time post office on Route 12 was closed because of several safety and sanitation issues in the leased building. There are two other post offices in the town of 3,400 residents, one at the Three Corners intersection on Route 5, a little more than a mile away, and one in North Hartland, also on Route 5.

Kurtis Bullard, a real estate specialist with the USPS, said this week the meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 20 at Damon Hall is intended to initiate conversations with Hartland residents about potential locations.

“This starts the community process,” Bullard said from his office in Greensboro, N.C. “We are coming up to see what might be available. Anyone with a piece of property can submit an offer to the post office.”

Bullard said they have a set of basic standards, including sufficient parking, at least 700 square feet and proximity to town that must be met in order to consider a location. A solicitation letter outlining all requirements is being sent to the town, Bullard said. The former location was 550 square feet. For parking, there must be several spaces for customers, including at least one handicap accessible space and a couple for employees.

If the postal service expresses an initial interest in a property with a building, it will conduct a thorough engineering study and determine what type of renovations may be needed and how much they will cost, Bullard said.

“We don’t do anything off the cuff,” Bullard said. “The process takes some time. It will probably be at least a year before we re-establish a site.”

If an existing building to fit the postal service’s requirements cannot be found, Bullard said they would also look at leasing land for a modular building.

Bullard said reopening a post office in the Hartland Four Corners neighborhood is in keeping with a mandate from Congress and the Postmaster General that was issued in the wake of the political backlash several years ago when the post office recommended closing 7,000 locations nationwide.

“This is a blanket statement that we will continue maintaining universal coverage and we won’t close any post offices,” Bullard said.

At the time of the closing of the office on Route 12, postal service officials said it would not be permanent, but did not have a timetable for reopening.

Town Manager David Ormiston said he will inform the Selectboard Monday night of the upcoming meeting but beyond getting a call from Bullard, he has not discussed the postal service’s plans.

Also on Monday, Ormiston will inform the board of an upcoming visit by Vermont State Police on police coverage in town. Ormiston said the six month contract that expired July 1 was supposed to be renewed for a year but inadvertently that didn’t happen.

“With Bob (former Town Manager Bob Stacey) leaving and me coming on board, it seemed to have slipped through the cracks,” Ormiston said. “So we are getting that signed now and we thought this would be a good time to get an update.”