by Lisa Tome
Pete Williams is willing to do whatever is necessary to keep the Charlestown Post Office open eight hours a day.
His efforts won't be needed.
On Friday, Freda Sauter, Corporate Communications for the United States Postal Service, said there are no plans to close that post office or reduce the hours.
"There are no plans to reduce Charlestown Post Office hours," wrote Sauter in an email. "The Post Offices that are on the list (for reduction of hours) do not have Postmasters. The offices are vacant and have an Officer-in Charge (acting Postmaster). Charlestown Post Office was taken off the list to reduce hours because the office has a permanent Postmaster."
On Monday, June 17, a petition began circulating in Charlestown. Residents had planned to gather signatures and then forward the petition to national elected representatives. Outlined in the petition was the office's 250 year history in the town and the fact that it's a "central hub of activity" in the community.
"Approximately 22% or our population is over 55 years of age. Of that amount, 11% is over age 65. Approximately 5% do not have transportation and another 5% are below the poverty level. Limited hours (at Charlestown Post Office) will force many to travel to the North East, MD Post Office, which is approximately a 7 mile round trip...", was outlined in the petition. It was also stated that "If we lose this Post Office, and that may just happen, the Town of Charlestown will cease to exist at the head of the Chesapeake Bay."
Williams, 80, a Charlestown native, was one of those working hard to keep the post office open eight hours per day.
"It's important that the people of the town be able to communicate with the outside world," said Williams. He also said that three members of his family had worked as Postmasters, dating back to 1946.
He said that Charlestown should do whatever is necessary to keep the post office open.
He suggested that town officials reduce the rent on the building. The town owns the building which is shared as the town hall/post office.
But at this point, none of those measures are needed due to the announcement made by Sauter.
"I'm tickled to death," said Charlestown Postmaster Lynne Reed. "I am happy for the residents. They worked hard and I appreciate what they've done."
While Charlestown was not impacted this time around, some of the post offices will have reduced hours. Elk Mills, Warwick, and Cecilton offices are among those offices where hours were reduced. In late January 2011, the Postmaster General announced that as many as 2,000 post offices in the U.S. may close as a cost cutting measure.
Other post offices are under review for ways to reduce spending.