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Avon Lake Post Office Size, Location Moves to Front and Center

Several residents want "better" facility, but post office is deemed important to west end of town.

Whether or not the is too big, too small or situated in a less convenient part of town has become an issue, with arguments made for both opinions.

On May 16 city council’s Public Utilities Committee met with one of the owners of the post office building and a representative from Congresswoman Betty Sutton’s office to look at options.

The committee, comprised of council members David Kos and Jennifer Fenderbosch, voted 2-0 to table further discussions for six months while more information and community feedback is gathered. The city can support a resolution and go-between with federal offices and politicians, but cannot force any changes.

The Post Office is located on Lake Road in Artstown Plaza near the old theater. Tom and Thomasina Patton own the plaza and post office building. The building, with 8,364 square feet of interior space, is leased by the United States Postal Service for $37,956 per year. The Post Office's current lease, signed in 1989, expires in April 2014.

Several months ago, Avon Lake resident John Rich sent a letter to Sutton’s office and to Avon Lake Council President Greg Zilka, listing the site’s inadequacies, including its size.  

Rich and resident Gerald Amato attended the May 17 meeting to speak in favor of a better post office.

“In every category I looked, Avon Lake was as good or better than any other place,” Amato said. “We got a new stadium last year,” Amato said. “We got a new pool last year.”

Rich thinks the best option would be to allow developers to bid on bringing the Post Office to a more central location in Avon Lake and see what options are offered.

“Why would you not want to find out?” Rich said. “It’s befuddling why you wouldn’t. I’d like to see council sign a resolution they want a better building."

Rich noted the city of Avon opened a large, new facility in the past several years. Avon, which owns the building, leases it to the Postal Service for $132,600 per year. That building has 6,500 square feet of interior space and a total of 57,000 square feet of total building space. Rich said a centrally located space would benefit the postal service by cutting down on gas for its fleet of 20 trucks.

 A larger space does not seem likely. The USPS, which lost $2 billion in the first quarter of 2011, enacted a new facility freeze in 2008.  Kos said the Patton’s have offered additional space to the post office.

‘The property owners have approached the post office offering more space and did not receive feedback that they were interested,” Kos said.  “It’s hard to force them out of the space they’re in where the space is adequate.”

Kos also noted the declining use of the post office since postage can now be printed at home and packages can be picked up at homes as well.

Fenderbosch, who has brought the issue to the attention of Sutton and Sen. Sherrod Brown’s office, noted that even if the post office moved to a larger space, service might not necessarily be improved.

“You’d have the same number of employees moving the same number of pieces,” she said.

 

Post office is vital to west end

Thomasina Patton, who attended the meeting, said the post office was an integral part of the plaza and the west end of Avon Lake. She said she was surprised that two individuals’ complaints garnered such attention.

“I’m surprised how much activity can be given to two people,” she said.

West end resident Deb Beard supported leaving the post office at its present location, noting that at least six apartment complexes utilize that center.

“That is a base for that end of town,” Beard said. “We lost banks, we lost our shopping center to the center of town.”

At least one councilperson supported some sort of improvement. Larry Meiners felt other locations should be considered.

“The snickers you hear when you have to stand outside those doors, it is very frustrating,” he said. “We have outgrown the size of that building and I hope that something is done in the near future. The Tops location is big enough, is central, there’s businesses there and restaurants there.

“I don’t know anyone who would argue that point.”

T.S. May 18, 2011 at 11:53 AM
I live on the east side of Avon Lake and even though it would be more convenient to move it closer to the center of town for me, I'm for keeping it where it is, the drive is not that big a deal and it helps the other businesses which need the traffic. HOWEVER, if I were a tenant I"d be shouting loud at the possibilities of losing the Post Office. The property owners ( that's you Mr. & Mrs Patton) should do something for the tenants there by improving the appearance and physical nature of the location. It looks old, feels old, pot holes in the parking lot have me swerving anytime I go to Pizza Cutter, its an awkward maneuver through the parking lot, it doesn't feel welcoming with its tired look, old signs, etc.. Slight modifications to the post office would make the wait inside a little less cramped when busy. There are businesses back there that I wouldn't have known about or spent money at if I didn't go to the post office. Even though it would be more convenient for me, I'm hoping that alternatives to better the property are considered first. And, yes we did get a new pool, new stadium-- but IN THE SAME LOCATION with tax payer money. Moving it to the Tops location may be nice and more convenient, but efforts to get a real retailer (Furniture, general, clothier, party center, indoor entertainment, etc..), in that abyss on Walker Rd would be a better use of our representatives' time and bring more business activity to a location versus taking business away from another.
Tony Palmieri May 18, 2011 at 01:09 PM
I enjoy going to the post office since it’s located in an area of town that still has the feel of "Mayberry". I enjoy the quaintness of the interior since it reminds me of my childhood. Not everything needs to be bigger since "bigger" usually loses a sense of warmth. I also enjoy going to the west end of town, too, since I’m reminded to frequent local businesses that need my support like The Pizza Cutter, The Beverage/Liquor Store, Geppettos, etc. At Christmas, being shoulder to shoulder in the lobby with fellow residents makes it cozy and fun. It's fun to stand at the counter with Josh and the previous customer and hear why Josh insists on wearing socks with his sandals during the summer. Being Avon Lake's only full time, retail photography company, I realize how important it is for area businesses that depend on residents for their survival. Moving the post office would financially hurt those area business people and their landlord. For a little convenience, does that make any sense? Being self-employed, I'm hyper-aware of the importance for me to spend my money locally and support the livelihoods of other residents who own businesses in AL. I say leave the Post Office alone and let those folks who want a bigger, colder place to ship their packages ship from the Avon facility when they're near I-90. Incidentally, I have to go to the AL Post Office today for stamps to mail a high school senior picture direct mail piece. You guessed it...I'm looking forward to it.
Tony Palmieri May 18, 2011 at 01:18 PM
Excellent point regarding the Town Center plaza. Kudos for recognizing the fact that businesses depend on traffic and the Post Office provides that. Also, thanks for supporting those area businesses. They appreciate your patronage. Avon Lake will stay a vibrant, desirable community as long as quality businesses remain in business. Lose the local, independent business base and Avon Lake won't be as desirable of a place to live anymore.
Bill Conners May 18, 2011 at 01:25 PM
After I moved here the first time I had to find that post office it took me a an extra minute or two, It really is in a poor location. The central party of the city would be great but let's face it it times have changed. To be honest the internet has changed the way we do everything. I may send a letter out only once or twice a year. And the postal system has bigger issues to deal with. fyi I am still waiting for a set of blueprints mailed to me in 1983. :-)
Candace Ashton May 18, 2011 at 02:33 PM
Considering the appearance of the area, I wonder what the Pattons do with the $37,000 per year. I find that section of Avon Lake to be an embarrassment. Apparently, I don't enjoy standing in a line outside in the rain as much as Tony does. There are very few times that I need to drive west but many times that I need to drive east so I usually use the Bay Village Post Office.
Brenda Mayo May 18, 2011 at 03:54 PM
Thank you T.S. and Tom for supporting the businesses in the area of the post office. We opened Seeds of Wellness llc in October by the Pizza Cutter, Beverage/Liquor Store and the post office because of the traffic to they bring to the west side of Avon Lake. However, I do agree that outside improvements are needed to the Artstown Plaza and better signage for the post office to make it easier to find. Since the post office has been offered more space within the building the currently reside and have declined the offer, it sounds like the post office does not need a larger location. Also the cost of remodeling a space and moving everything may cost the U.S. postal service more money than expanding the current facility. With the reduction in the number of letters and packages being mailed because of the internet, the postal service is financially struggling to keep current post offices open. Lets be happy we still have a post office available in Avon Lake.
Jim Harley May 18, 2011 at 04:57 PM
Improve it but don't move it. We should not rob one area of town to fill a hole in another part of town. Instead of letting an area go down-let's try to build it up.
Carol Murphy May 18, 2011 at 05:29 PM
Don't move the post office! This is a section of our community that has "history" attached. In other cities where they have built "bigger and better(??)", I have experienced less counter attendants than we have in AL. Those bigger/better sites are less efficient and have longer lines than I have ever experienced in AL. The staff in AL are the best! If it ain't broken don't change it!
Bill Conners May 18, 2011 at 05:58 PM
Carol no offense but those other cities have longer lines because people can actually find the post office! I used to live in North Royalton and that post office was a pain because only 1 person behind counter and there would be 5-10 people in line. But at least that and the Broadview Heights post office are in main parts of their respective cities and easy to find, ours is not. Which is part of the reason I am online for almost everything I do. No disrespect to postal service I have friends who work for them but it is a bureaucracy and not efficiently run. And I'd like to know why the eyesore empty Tops store has not been leased out. I feel bad for the smaller stores there without an anchor to help drive business to them. If the post office moved there it would be centrally located and put more traffic there and possible business to the other stores.
Dave D May 18, 2011 at 09:31 PM
I don't hear anyone form the Post Office speaking up to move the post office. The fact is, ver seldom is that post office so busy that people are standing outside. There are many people living in Avon Lake that wish they didn't have to look at the West side. They feel it looks run down, or dilapidated. The West side has more of a neighborhood feel to me. Let's not forget the best place to shop in Avon lake is Drug Mart. It's on the west side.:)
Josh May 19, 2011 at 10:19 AM
There are only a few times a year that I have seen lines outside or crowding the lobby doors, Christmas time and tax time. At Christmas EVERY line is long, does this mean we should get a bigger wal-mart or best buy? No! Then why do we expect it for our Post Office. If you don't like the appearance that's one thing, but it's function is just fine. If Avon lake had the taj majal of post offices with 25 clerk stations, there would still be the same two clerks working there and the other stations would be quite empty.
T.S. May 19, 2011 at 11:09 AM
The only question I have after reading the article and all the comments is if Gerald Amato, Fenderbosch, Sutton & Brown are going to listen to the majority--that also happens to be common sense--and leave the Post Office where it is! The PO says they don't need bigger--and the Post Office isn't going increase in usage over the years and don't have the funds to make a move that will certainly be more costly than any of the best guestimates. Or are they going to listen to such a small group of whiners who don't have the MAJORITY of residents' & AL business owners interest at heart and try to move the Post Office just to add something noticeable to their resume come election day even though its not needed. How about you guys think about something that effects all residents, like, oh, I don't know, how being able to drive down Electric or Lake Road without losing a cell signal for example, or making sure the 43 Lake Road residents move their fancy brick mail boxes or fences 12 feet from the street so the city doesn't lose $1,000,000 in funding for future ODOT projects. ( http://avonlake.patch.com/articles/ornamental-mailboxes-on-treelawns-could-cost-avon-lake-1-million ) We don't have any real critical issues being a small city, but looking at something that doesn't make sense over actually doing something that affects the daily and financial well being of residents just blows me away. Lori, please feel free to pass on our comments to the politicians. Think they'll Listen?
Lori E. Switaj May 19, 2011 at 01:37 PM
Thanks for all the great comments on this issue. I think both sides are represented and I know for a fact that the politicians do read this site daily. They are all welcome to respond in a guest column or in this section if they like. A couple of points to remember: The Pattons really had no say in this issue being brought forward. Thomasina Patton in fact said she was surprised that a few people garnered so much attention. Jennifer Fenderbosch seems to understand a bigger post office does not mean better service if the same amount of people are working the windows and David Kos also understands that. The post office has not indicated once they are looking for a change. Having said that, there are a few people out there who want a bigger post office. If the city stepped up to build a bigger one it would most likely be paid for out of our tax dollars like the stadium and pool. Would voters support that? I'm guessing not, but who knows. This article has garnered a lot of comments and that's a good thing. Patch is a place where your comments are welcome and seen and read by thousand, politicians and residents alike. Thanks to all for keeping it civil.
Tony Palmieri May 19, 2011 at 02:46 PM
Hi Candace, The Patton's put the $37,000 toward the $1,000,000 of improvements they've made to the property over time in addition to their mortgage payment to the bank. It's sometimes difficult for non-business owners to understand the overwhelming expenses involved in running a business which is why traffic and resident support is so important to us small businesses. I can't image the expenses the Patton's have but I know the rent from the Post Office probably makes a small dent in their overall financial responsibility. Regarding standing in the rain, call me odd but that doesn't bother me. It's only happened to me once. Sometimes, it's the small things in life we used to do as kids that we forget to do as adults that make life fun. And, if you're a country music fan, here are a few lines from Luke Bryan's recent song, "Rain makes corn, corn makes whiskey, whiskey makes my baby feel a little frisky." The CMTers out there will have that tune in their heads all day! You're all welcome! :-)
John A. Rich May 20, 2011 at 03:44 AM
Lori, your post is not correct and it is misleading. The proponents of having a newer, larger, and more centrally located Post Office do not want or expect the citizens of Avon Lake to pay for a new Post Office as you have incorrectly suggested. Although we sincerely believe Avon Lake deserves a newer, more efficient Post Office, it certainly is not our thought to have the citizens of Avon Lake be further burdened with additional tax dollars to pay for a new Post Office. The proposal we have suggested is simple. All we are requesting is, prior to signing a new lease agreement, the US Postal Service give equal opportunity, as required by Federal Law, to all Developers and Commercial Property Owners to submit bids based on the Postal Service Space Requirements to sufficiently serve the residents of Avon Lake! Certainly, the owners of the current Post Office Building would be welcome to submit a bid package. After all bids are received, it would be up to the Postal Service Management Team to make a determination as to which bid package would best serve the needs of the Postal Service and the residents and businesses in Avon Lake. It is our belief, when all is said and done, the US Postal Service will see, understand, and agree moving to a new, modern and centrally located facility will be in the best overall interests of the Postal Service as well as the majority of Avon Lake residents and business owners. JAR
Lori E. Switaj May 20, 2011 at 03:58 AM
John, thanks for posting. My response was not meant to reflect your proposal, it was in response to the numerous posts and emails received regarding the issue. Your proposal is certainly reasonable and hopefully will be taken into consideration as the city continues to gather feedback from Avon Lake residents. We will keep updating this issue as it is discussed by city council, Rep. Sutton's office or if the post office issues a comment on it.
T.S. May 20, 2011 at 11:59 AM
Whenever I see something like " It is OUR belief, when all is said and done, the US Postal Service will see, understand and agree .....", I'd like to know WHO IS the "OUR" in "OUR belief"?? A few citizens having cocktails on the deck, retirees playing cards at the old firehouse, etc.. Not exactly sure how a new facility will make the post office more efficient. A building doesn't facilitate efficiency in this case, unless there's documentation somewhere to prove me wrong. I never heard any complaints before (except for the rare occasion of getting a few drops of rain on your head) Sure, who wouldn't want a newer post office--on the surface that sounds great, but not if it damages surrounding businesses ( and no, I am not a business owner, just a hard working schmuck like most Avon Lake residents). Robbing Peter to pay Paul is not really a solid business concept-don't need a degree to know that -even though I have one. I love it when someone claims to know whats in the best interest of others, and in this case without having clear support of either the Post Office, OR the majority. Bottom line, its up to the Federal Gov't-US Post Office--to decide. Let's just hope that with the Post Office losing millions, closing up shop and merging into regional Post Offices all across the country that all this attention doesn't bite us all in the butt where we'll end up with NO Post Office come 2014. Sometimes when you rock the boat, everyone falls overboard.
Tony Palmieri May 20, 2011 at 06:39 PM
Hi TS, Good comments. I like the comment about rocking the boat. Now I have that tune from the 70s from the Hues Corporation in my head. Hear ya go: http://www.lyrics.com/rock-the-boat-lyrics-hues-corporation.html And one more just for fun: http://www.lyrics.com/raindrops-keep-falling-on-my-head-lyrics-burt-bacharach.html Just in case everyone isn't aware, we business owners are just "hard working schmucks" like everyone else. The major difference is WE RELY ON YOU to support us for our incomes and you rely on your companies for a paycheck...from the dollars we spend on their products that come from you supporting us that we spend on your company's products that come from you supporting us...I'm getting dizzy but funny how that all comes together! Full circle, I think they call it. The biggest difference is we have our financial lives on the line pursuing a dream that relies on customer traffic. So just in case anyone forgets, consider which families and which businesses are impacted by moving entities that bring customers to that area in exchange for the convenience saving a couple of minutes in line waiting. Most times, the time spent in line waiting can be put to good use by smiling and saying "hi" to the person next to you. Ya never know, ya might make a new friend. Try it. It's amazing who you can meet in Avon Lake!
Dave D May 20, 2011 at 10:19 PM
Unless you have owned a small business, you have no idea just how little the $37000 the post office pays a year gets you. For the square footage, that is peanuts. After the Arabica coffee house went out of business for the last time, I tried to rent the spot they were in. It was going for well over $40,000 a year. Of course we can see what happened, the last Two businesses failed, hopefully the new one can somehow find a way to survive under that crushing rent. The point is, that rent is a bargain for the post office, why would they want to leave? just because they move into a newer, shinier place, doesn't mean it will be more efficient. That kind of square footage would cost the post office probably at least $90,000 a year and not benefit anyone except for the people who do not want to drive the extra 3 minutes it takes to get there from the other side of town. Is JAR some kind of developer looking to unload some property in Avon Lake? The references to "we" and "our" sound suspiciously like some group of investors. Maybe I am wrong...
Michelle Szegedy February 22, 2012 at 09:22 PM
I think the Post Office is fine where it is! Leave it where it is as an anchor to the West end of Avon Lake. It works.
Carol Murphy February 23, 2012 at 12:09 AM
Look at Avon and Westlake.......new larger post office buildings and there are still lines, less personal and terrible service. Our postal employees are friendly, helpful and are very efficient. We are lucky to be able to preserve the character of our eastern segment of our city!

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