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.”