For decades, East Toledo residents have known their local post office to be on or near Second Street.
That likely will not change, but the U.S. Postal Service wants to move Toledo’s Station A into another nearby building.
Currently at 618 Second Street, the plan is to move the post office to a now vacant space between a beauty salon and beauty supply store in the Toledo Food Center shopping plaza on Main Street. That property is adjacent and its entrance located just around the corner from the current location.
Toledo District 3 councilman Peter J. Ujvagi believes the post office has been at Second Street since the 1920s, but it is believed that it was originally located at what is now the closed VFW building across the street before moving to its current location about 70 years ago, but Station A’s history dates back much further.
“It was called Station A because it was the first branch post office in Toledo,” East Toledo historian and author Larry Michaels emailed The Press.
|The post office at 618 Second Street, East Toledo. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)|
Michaels continued, “It opened on January 10, 1895, when the east side had about 12,000 residents. Originally, it operated out of a storeroom in the Weber Block at Front and Main. The first superintendent was Albert Eppstein. A rural route was established in 1896 and Alfred Householder, a Civil War veteran who was the first rural carrier, had to deliver mail out to all the farmhouses in Oregon Township.
“Then the station moved to an office at 502 Main Street where it remained for many years. As the east side grew, a larger building was needed, built at 617 Second Street (now the VFW Post) in 1925. It moved across Second Street to its current location in the mid-1950s.”
Last week, when the postal service called for a public meeting regarding the matter, some East Toledo residents were concerned that their post office, which serves the 43605 zip code, was going to be moved across the Maumee River. Most were pleased to find out at the meeting, held downtown in council chambers at One Government Center, their post office will remain in East Toledo.
“We have downsized that post office. It’s old, it’s decrepit, and it’s not nice. We want to make something nice for the communities that we serve,” said David Wolff, a real estate specialist for the U.S.P.S., adding that it will also give the post office a chance to upgrade services and technology.
“The reason we’re moving is we need to update and upgrade, and move to a safer and smaller facility that is also retail only, and it serves your district. It is right there — it’s right next to the other post office,” Wolff said.
Postal island and flag pole
The proposal includes constructing a postal island for drive through residents to drop off their mail.
Resident Tom Hatas III recommended constructing a flag pole at the new site with LED floodlights and signage. Wolff said those will be under consideration, as long as it does not violate city zoning codes and the property owner cooperates.
The new site is not final, however. Residents still have time to appeal the decision and may even submit a proposal asking the postal service to use another property.
“Nothing is written in stone. Anyone can submit an appeal,” said Wolff, who flew in from his office in Greensboro, N.C., for the meeting.
Because of that, even though funding already exists, he could not give a timeline when this would happen.
“I cannot speak for our architects and engineering, but we have got a very anxious team led by an architect in Chicago and he wants to get this done,” Wolff said. “I think it’s critical. It needs to get done and that’s one of the priorities for 2017 in my region.”
Wolff told residents that he did not believe any services would be cut, and staff would remain the same. He added that delivery service “would not be compromised in any way,” and says it may even improve.
“We took a lot of time and we put a lot of effort into what we should do because it’s really the public that we are serving. We wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for you,” Wolff said. “The trend is to clean up and downsize the whole operation so that we become more efficient. We are not taking any services away and we think this is going to improve the service.
“We’re going to have boxes, we’re going to have all the essential postal requirements, including for any customers who have any special needs. We’re always prepared to help in any way we can. I believe that this particular downsize is going to create a larger retail facility than what we have the existing building, so I think it’s going to be a win-win for everyone.”
He said that typically the post office contracts for five-year lease increments on property, and when residents asked about property maintenance, Wolff said the postal service holds landlords accountable to proper maintenance of leased properties. He added the postal service does plan to get involved with some necessary renovations.
“We plan to repair and fix the parking lot as part of that, and hopefully, we can inspire the landlord to fix the rest of it,” Wolff said, adding that the existing post office will remain open until the new one is ready to open, even if they have to apply to the current landlord for a six-month lease extension.
If done within 30 days after Tuesday’s public meeting, anyone may submit written comments to David M. Wolff-USPS, Real Estate Specialist, P.O. Box 27497, Greensboro, N.C. 27409 or to firstname.lastname@example.org.
(There is more information about the history of Station A in Larry Michael’s book, East Side Story, on pages 190-192.)