FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Richmond Leaders to Host Town Hall, Rally to Save Historic Downtown Richmond Post Office
Richmond, CA — Following a public hearing convened by the United States Postal Service on May 31, Richmond leaders have announced a community-wide Town Hall meeting on Thursday, June 15, from 6pm – 8pm at the Nevin Community Center (598 Nevin Avenue).
The town hall meeting is being hosted by the Iron Triangle Neighborhood Council and co-organized by the Office of Mayor Tom Butt and Richmond Main Street Initiative.
“The community really spoke loud and clear at the public hearing. They were very concerned about the USPS proposal to relocate the Richmond Main Post Office and the lack of information about the whole process, especially the public comment portion,” says Alicia Gallo, Outreach Coordinator, Richmond Main Street Initiative.
In January a notice announcing that the historic Richmond Main Post Office had been “determined to be in excess by the Postal Service and is no longer necessary for Postal operations” was posted. The notice advised the public to submit written comments no later than February 8. Upon receiving inquiries from local leaders and elected officials, the USPS reverse course citing an error in procedure.
In mid-May, a second notice and two-page letter to Richmond Mayor Tom Butt was posted at the office. This notice announced a proposal to relocate retail post office operations from the Richmond Main Post Office (1025 Nevin Avenue) to the McVittie DDU facility (2100 Chanslor Avenue), as well as details regarding a public hearing and a public comment period.
More than fifty community members attended the public hearing, with roughly half offering comments to Dean Cameron and Augustin Ruiz of the USPS. Attendees included Congressman Mark DeSaulnier, representatives from John Gioia and Mayor Tom Butt’s office, Councilmember Eduardo Martinez, Richmond Main Street Initiative, Downtown businesses, residents, and retired postal workers. Also in attendance were organizers from Save the Berkeley Post Office.
All speakers passionately spoke out against the proposed relocation, citing that the relocation proposal would create severe hardships for residents and businesses. Many expressed concerns about the environmental and human impact of relocating services to the McVittie site, which is not accessible by public transportation, is located in a residential area, and sits at the intersection of two dead-end streets.
In addition to praising the Richmond Main Post Office for its central location, longtime residents also spoke about the local landmark for its historic and cultural value. Built in 1938 as a New Deal project, the building is a rare example of a one that has retained both its original form and function.
Amanda Elliott, Executive Director of Richmond Main Street Initiative, spoke about new development projects planned for the Downtown district. In the next five years, new infill projects will bring nearly 1000 new housing units and 60,000+ square feet of retail, all located just blocks from the current main post office.
Community members also questioned the decision making process used by the USPS to arrive at the relocation proposal. Data supporting the USPS assertion that the Downtown post office is not economically viable was not presented. Also not provided were reasons for deciding against relocating or consolidating services of other post offices in the area, including the McVittie facility, or exploring creative revenue generating ventures.
All community members are invited to attend this town hall to learn more about the USPS proposal and how to submit public comments. Organizers will have instructions and sample letters available. Those who are not able to attend the town hall meeting are encouraged to visit www.RichmondMainStreet.org/Save-Richmond-Main-Post-Office to learn more, read letters of support from community leaders, and to access the online petition.
Richmond Main Street Initiative is a community based non-profit dedicated to revitalizing historic downtown Richmond. RMSI partners with the City of Richmond, merchants, and residents to develop and improve downtown Richmond as a pedestrian-friendly urban village that offers products, services, arts and entertainment that reflect the community’s rich and diverse heritage. www.richmondmainstreet.org and www.facebook.com/richmondmainstreet.
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