The opening of the new post office on Camp Road in the Town of Hamburg is near, and some village businesses are grumbling that when it opens, they may be forced to change the mailing addresses they have used for years.
Hamburg post office box holders were sent a survey last month on whether they would like to keep a post office box within the village or locate the box at the new facility. If they keep a box within the village, they would have to change their box number or add an address line under the box number, the customers were told.
"This is not acceptable," said Lee Benz of Benz-Sardinia, a Buffalo Street insurance office. "We can keep our post office box number if we go three miles down the road."
The business could keep its mailing address by moving the box to Camp Road, where the new facility will offer 24-hour access to the boxes as well as vending, with mail normally available by 9 a.m. Mail at boxes in the village would be available later, possibly at 10:30 or 11 a.m.
"If business owners open their doors at 9 in the morning, they'd like to have their mail by then," said Mayor John S. Thomas.
Benz said his office receives substantial amounts of mail and picks it up at the post office on Main Street about 8:30 a.m.
"I truly believe our downtown area needs a community post office," the mayor said, noting that the Village of East Aurora lost its post office when facilities were moved to the Town of Aurora. "I echo their loss, and I don't want that to happen in our village," he said.
The Postal Service had made a commitment to the village that the Camp Road facility would not open until there was a retail presence in the village. When no businesses stepped up to run a contract post office, village officials reluctantly submitted an application last year. But now there is a business interested in operating a contract postal unit, or CPU, within the village.
"The new post office will open when a contract is signed for the CPU. That's in the works, and it should be any time," said Postal Service spokeswoman Denise Dombrowski. "We're working with the village to find a spot for the boxes."
She said the post office boxes that remain in the village would not be located in the contract postal unit.
When the village was pursuing the operation of the contract post office last fall, it asked the Postal Service for the old post office. Rep. Jack Quinn, R-Hamburg, said he will request a $400,000 appropriation in the federal budget this fall to acquire and renovate the old post office.
Quinn has asked Postmaster General William J. Henderson to consider the request to convey the building to the village.
"We'd like to keep it with the village. It's part of the village's history," said Quinn spokesman Michael Tetuan.
The mayor said there could be a number of uses for the building, including a senior center and/or a youth center. He said a major problem with the building is the steep stairs on the Main Street side.
"There is handicapped access in the back. There is parking in the back," he said.
For now, a for-sale sign remains outside the old post office.