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On Barnabas Road-Newtown Backers Endorse A Site For New Post Office In Hawleyville



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On Barnabas Road—

Newtown Backers Endorse A Site

For New Post Office In Hawleyville

By Nancy K. Crevier

Members and guests of the Committee to Save Hawleyville Post Office gathered Saturday, April 25, at DeGrazia Vineyards in Brookfield to celebrate the Hawleyville Post Office community, receive updates on the new post office facility, and to enjoy local wine, music, and chocolates from Bridgewater Chocolates. It was also an opportunity, said committee member Dot Dwyer, to “make sure the USPS knows we aren’t going to go away until a new post office is here in Hawleyville.”

The Committee to Save Hawleyville Post Office was formed earlier this year in response to the United States Postal Service’s decision to temporarily close the Route 25 facility and move operations to the Newtown Commerce Road site until a viable space for a new post office in the Hawleyville section of town could be found. The small, dilapidated building that housed Hawleyville Post Office was the center of contentious debate for the past three years as area citizens, town officials, the Housatonic Railroad (landlord of the Route 25 facility), and the USPS locked horns as to the future of the popular post office and its staff.

On Saturday, said Ms Dwyer and Ann Marie Mitchell, head of the grassroots committee to save the post office in Hawleyville, more than 50 people listened attentively as Newtown First Selectman Joe Borst spoke. “He told us that he has visited all three of the sites that the USPS has said they have had offers as new sites for the post office,” Ms Mitchell said on Monday, April 27. “He told us he would be sending a letter to the postal service endorsing the Barnabas Road building, which has been a constant with Mr Borst at other meetings.”

Dr Paul V. DeGrazia spoke on the longevity and health benefits of wine, as celebrants commiserated and reveled in the pleasant weather and surroundings of the vineyard.

Other speakers at the afternoon party included longtime Hawleyville resident Alec Clarke, who reminisced on the area, and Charles Speidel, who offered a look at the history of the Housatonic Railroad and the development of Hawleyville. Helene Williams read from a book of poetry written by her aunt, Vera Cogwell, who had grown up in Hawleyville, and Tom Dwyer and The Front Porch Band entertained the group with an original talking blues song about the Hawleyville Post Office and the grassroots movement to save it.

 “It was a great day, all around,” said Ms Dwyer.

According to a letter from William Moncrief, real estate specialist for the USPS, received by the first selectman’s office and dated April 24, “Four offers [as possible locations for a new Hawleyville Post Office] were received and although each had its individual challenges and benefits, it was considered that any of them might possibly be made acceptable.”

The four offers were for a new commercial building under construction at 23 Barnabas Road; a frame structure to be renovated at 115 Mt Pleasant Road; and two options for the site formerly occupied by the Hawleyville Post Office on Route 25: to rebuild the structure, retaining only existing foundation and walls, or to construct a new frame structure on that site.

Because Tower Realty Corp, the broker for 23 Barnabas Road, has been in negotiations with the USPS for more than a year to develop that property to accommodate a post office, Mr Borst and the Committee to Save Hawleyville Post Office feel that it is the only property of the four options that will be able to open to the public in a timely manner.

Following the Saturday gathering, the Committee to Save Hawleyville Post Office met to formulate a letter to the USPS. “The rapid return of postal service to Hawleyville is critical to restoring the economic, social, and psychological health of the individuals and businesses of Hawleyville, Newtown, Brookfield, and surrounding areas,” reads the letter in part, adding, “Therefore, the Committee to Save the Hawleyville Post Office unanimously endorses 23 Barnabas Road as the only site for the Hawleyville Post Office because this option is harmonious with the USPS’s ‘hopeful (establishment) for late summer occupancy in its new location,’ as well as provides the historical continuity of postal services established by Glover Hawley in 1844.”

The letter goes on to list the additional benefits of selecting 23 Barnabas Road as the new site for the post office, including its ease of access to Routes 84 and 25, and Tunnel Road; replication of the same community traffic patterns; a low maintenance building; an efficient and safe work environment; room for postal growth; and the fact that the building complies with town planning and zoning requirements.

“We remain steadfast in our request to you, our First Selectman Joseph E. Borst, and Congressman Murphy to expedite this project,” pleads the committee’s letter in closing.

Tower Realty Corp recently noted in a letter to the first selectman that the 23 Barnabas Road project remains “on schedule to complete our part of construction by June.”

In compliance with USPS regulations, any member of the community or the first selectman’s office may offer written comments on any of the properties within the next 30 days. The USPS letter and description of probable sites is posted at the Newtown Post Office on Commerce Road. Send any letters to the attention of William Moncrief at NE Facilities Service Office, 8 Griffin Road North, Windsor CT 06006-0300.

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