Frustrations Grow As Local Post Office Falls Apart
What would you do if you couldn't get your mail or access to your mailbox? That's an issue hundreds of people are facing in the Village of Stonington.
Frank Paulek, Stonington Village President, barricaded the sidewalk and main entrance of the local post office on April 12 after he discovered the building was falling apart.
He said, "What are we to do? I can't allow people to go in that building. It's unsafe."
Many residents don't have a mailbox at home and have had to use the building's back door to get their mail, but can only access it during certain hours.
"If you work a regular job, say 8 to 5, you can't get your mail except on Saturday," said Paulek. "And if you don't go between - I think it's 9:00 and 10:30 - on Saturday, you can't get your mail."
Paulek says after months of dead ends, he finally heard back from the U.S. Postal Service and the landlord, but still has not been given a real, definitive answer.
"The postal service notified their landlord that there was an issue, and the landlord sent somebody out to look at it, and he said, 'it's over my head,'" said Paulek. "So they called in structural engineers, and the structural engineers gave a report to someone that I'm not privy to that knowledge."
Newschannel 20 reached out to the U.S. Postal Service, and got a statement from their corporate communications saying, "USPS Real Estate is currently attempting to secure a temporary location for the Stonington Post Office within the city limits."
In the meantime, Paulek has reached out to a lawmaker, hoping he can help.
U.S. Representative Rodney Davis said, "We have to make sure that the postal service is working with their lessees, the people who own their buildings that they rent the ability to operate that post office in, to make the necessary upgrades so that the safety of the citizens of those communities are not compromised, and also their ability to get their mail that they rely on is not compromised by inaction based on the post office."
Village President Paulek says it's the responsibility of the building owner, but he hasn't heard from them.
He has offered the postal service Stonington's old city hall to use as a temporary location for free, but they have not taken him up on that offer yet.