Crowley, Gillibrand, Klein and Vacca Fight Against Proposed Closing of Van Nest Post Office

April 29, 2010
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Queens, the Bronx), U.S. Senator Kirsten E. Gillibrand (D-New York), New York State Senator Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) and New York City Councilman James Vacca (D-Bronx) called on Postmaster General John E. Potter to keep open the Van Nest Post Office, located at 715 Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx. With the neighborhood already suffering from a lack of banks, the closure of this postal facility would further hurt this area’s resurgence.

“For too long, the Van Nest neighborhood has been denied access to vital services, and the residents and businesses of this area deserve better,” said Congressman Joe Crowley.  “Closing this post office location would be a slap in the face to this community, and we are calling on the Postmaster General to take notice of the extreme circumstances this neighborhood is facing and prevent this setback to community revitalization efforts.”

“Closing this vital post office would prevent many Bronx residents from having reliable access to yet another basic service,” Senator Gillibrand said. “It’s essential that the Van Nest post office remain open and the federal government continue to help underserved communities grow and thrive.”

"It's extremely disappointing that the Van Nest Post Office is still on the chopping block, especially since we have made significant strides in revitalizing the community. I recently found out a bank plans to move forward with the application process in order to open in Van Nest. A bank will help bring new businesses into the community as it will serve as a hub for business transactions. I believe a bank and a post office go hand in hand, both serving as vital, central locations to conduct business. We need the Van Nest Post Office so that our revitalization project will be a complete package--a post office, bank and businesses all boosting the economy and making the Van Nest community a vibrant and prosperous place to live," said Senator Klein.


“Thousands of local residents, many of them senior citizens, rely on the Van Nest Post Office, especially in light of the fact that there is no bank nearby. Depriving this community of a post office at this time would send the worst possible message to both the residents who have invested in this community and the businesses we hope will soon invest in this community. I join Congressman Crowley in calling on the Postmaster General to not disinvest from Van Nest,” said Councilman James Vacca.

The Van Nest Post Office is one of six New York City postal facilities still under review for possible consolidation under the U.S. Postal Service’s station and branch consolidation initiative. It has been ten years since the last bank in the Van Nest neighborhood closed, and closing the local post office will further hamper the efforts of elected officials and community leaders to entice banks into the community.

Congressman Crowley, Senator Gillibrand, Councilman Vacca, and Senator Klein have been fighting to keep the Van Nest Post Office open. Working with community groups such as the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance and the Morris Park Alliance, the elected officials have raised the community’s concerns with the U.S. Postal Service and the Postal Regulatory Commission.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

FULL TEXT OF LETTER TO POSTMASTER GENERAL JOHN E. POTTER

April 27, 2010

 

The Honorable John E. Potter

Postmaster General,

United States Postal Service

475 L’Enfant Plaza, SW

Washington DC 20260-0010

 

Dear Mr. Postmaster General:

                We are greatly concerned about the proposed closing of the Van Nest Post Office, located at 715 Morris Park Avenue in the Bronx. This post office is located in an area of the Bronx that currently suffers from of a lack of banks, and losing access to another vital service will seriously harm the growth of this neighborhood. We urge you to take this factor into consideration and keep this postal location open.

                A February 1, 2010 New York Times article highlighted the difficulty businesses and residents in this community have faced since the last bank in the area closed more than ten years ago, calling it a “longstanding snub” of the community. The lack of banks has hurt the development of the business community and stymied efforts at growth, and we worry that the closure of the Van Nest Post Office may provide a further disincentive for banks to move into the area.

                Banking institutions may be less likely to open new locations when postal services are not readily convenient. Worse, closing the local post office would show signs that the federal government is disinvesting from the Van Nest neighborhood at the same time as new families continue to move into the area – a bad indicator for a community trying to flourish during these tough economic times.

                The Postal Regulatory Commission’s March 10, 2010 “Advisory Opinion Concerning the Process for Evaluating Closing Stations and Branches” states that the Postal Service should assess the “distinctive needs of each community”, and does reference access to banking services as a community need. For that reason, we urge you to reconsider the proposed closure of Van Ness Post Office and include in your future considerations whether areas have access to federally-regulated financial institutions before making consolidation recommendations. This will ensure that traditionally underserved neighborhoods, such as the area of Van Nest, are not further placed at a disadvantage.

                While we understand the Postal Service’s need to readjust its efforts during difficult economic times, this is no excuse for cutting off access to basic services such as obtaining money orders. The residents and businesses of Van Nest join us in asking for your help in keeping this much-needed post office open. 

                                                                Sincerely,

 /S/

Joseph Crowley                                                                                                               

United States Representative                                                                   

 

/S/

Kirsten E. Gillibrand        

United States Senator  

 

/S/

Jimmy Vacca

New York City Councilman

 

/S/

Jeff Klein                                                                                                            

New York State Senator 

###