FAIRFIELD, Conn. – It didn’t take long for Southport residents to persuade the U.S. Postal Service not to move their local mail carriers to the Commerce Drive center on the Bridgeport border.
The U.S. Postal Service had floated a plan to close the distribution at the local Southport post office and potentially shutter its retail center as well.
Residents from Southport and around Fairfield gathered at a meeting with U.S. Rep. Jim Himes and U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy on June 30 to protest the plan and talk about their concerns. Everyone in attendance agreed that losing the post office would be traumatic to the village.
But in a letter to longtime Southport resident Jean Whitney on July 3, the U.S. Postal Service said the plans have been changed.
“You will be happy to know we have reconsidered and decided to not move forward with those plans at this time. This means a relocation of our retail service will not be advanced at this time,” said the letter from Karen Kucharczyk, manager of the consumer and industry contact for the Connecticut Valley District of the USPS.
For Fairfield First Selectman Michael Tetreau, the announcement was good news for Southport.
“This is a major concession on the part of the postal service,” Tetreau said. He believes the decision was in their favor because the community came together to support something that the members treasure.
“I think it was our elected officials and our federal delegation,” Tetreau said. Specifically he said, the federal delegation by helping to “put some of the pressure on at the federal level, which made them listen to what we’re saying.”
The plan had been for the mail carriers to start their routes from the Commerce Drive office rather than coming from the Southport post office by Aug. 23.
Many of the residents at the meeting said they were worried about the time it would have taken for mail trucks to get from Commerce Drive to Southport and the potential for late deliveries.
In a joint statement, Murphy and Himes praised the decision.
“Last week, we spoke with dozens of residents in the Southport community who expressed concern that the proposed rerouting would delay mail delivery and compromise services," they said. "We were proud to take their feedback to the USPS and encourage it to keep this route intact.
"This feedback helped USPS recognize the importance of the post office to the community, and we commend the agency for responding to our concerns so quickly. The Southport community’s work to keep this route alive is a great example of the power of advocacy and teamwork.”
Read more about the residents' complaints here on the Daily Voice.