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USPS Narrows New Hawleyville Post Office Relocation To One Site



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USPS Narrows New Hawleyville Post Office Relocation To One Site

By Nancy K. Crevier

“We’re thrilled,” said Dot Dwyer, a longtime resident of Hawleyville and a member of the Save Hawleyville Post Office Committee.

On Thursday, May 28, the office of the Newtown Selectman Joe Borst received notification from United States Postal Service real estate specialist William Moncrief that the USPS has decided to relocate the Hawleyville Post Office, temporarily closed in February, to Barnabas Road.

“After carefully reviewing the sites which were offered, the Postal Service has decided to select the property located at 23 Barnabas Road,” read Mr Moncrief’s letter. “We believe that this new location will provide the community with an upgraded, modern facility that offers a safe working environment for our employees and a level of service expected by your customers.”

Two other developers had submitted proposals for the relocation or renovation of the Route 25 Hawleyville Post Office facility, the subject of controversy between area residents and the USPS for several years. An initial request to spruce up the dilapidated structure in 2005 developed into an issue as to whether or not the facility would remain in operation, be renovated, or be temporarily closed and reopened at another site.

A failure for the landlord of the building that housed the post office, the Housatonic Railroad, and the USPS to reach agreement on a lease to continue operation at the Route 25 facility or to renovate that property culminated in the temporary closure and relocation of the post office to the Newtown Commerce Road Post Office in February.

A grassroots organization, Save Hawleyville Post Office, garnered the support of US Congressman Christopher Murphy, as well as that of the Newtown First Selectman this past winter to ensure that should the Route 25 facility be closed, it would be on a temporary basis, and reopen in a timely manner. USPS Vice President of Operations in Connecticut Ed Phelan assured the community in February that the agency would work diligently to see that a new or renovated Hawleyville Post Office would reopen by the fall of 2009.

On Tuesday, June 2, both Ms Dwyer and Ann Marie Mitchell, the head of the Save Hawleyville Post Office Committee, expressed their gratitude for the efforts of Congressman Murphy and his office, as well as the commitment of USPS representative William Moncrief.

“Bill Moncrief kept very good communication with [the committee] and kept to the time line [required by the USPS process],” said Ms Mitchell. “We are very pleased with his commitment to the process. It’s in keeping with the community’s request to have services returned to the area in the shortest time possible,” she said.

The new construction at 23 Barnabas Road is a project of local developer Steve Nicolosi and Tower Realty in Danbury. Mr Nicolosi and Tower Realty broker Mick Consalvos had been in negotiations with the USPS for several months prior to the project being approved to go to bid in March.

“We’ve always had a building that is perfect in its size and dimensions for many types of businesses,” said Mr Nicolosi this week. “We believe in Newtown and Hawleyville, even in bad business times. The post office was having problems at the same time as we were building, so it worked out. It’s a good thing. Things are in motion now.”

The letter stating the USPS decision to relocate the Hawleyville Post Office to 23 Barnabas Road will be posted at the Newtown Commerce Road Post Office for 30 days, during which time community members may comment to the USPS Vice President, Facilities, attention William Moncrief, NE Facilities Service Office, 6 Griffin Road North, Windsor CT 06006-0300.

“We’re in the last legs of construction and the interior of the building is ready for any potential renter to come in today and start refinishing,” said Mr Nicolosi, who added that he saw no problem with having a post office facility ready to open there by late summer or early fall. “As a businessman, of course, I’ll be most comfortable when we have a signed lease,” he said.

“To me, it was the ideal choice,” said Mr Borst. “I’m very pleased and very happy. It’s a new building, and the maintenance costs will be low for a good number of years. Replacing the Hawleyville Post Office where the old one was is not a good idea, especially if we are going to have a problem with the transfer station there,” he said.

The Housatonic Railroad is seeking to expand the transfer station capabilities on the site adjacent to that formerly housing the Hawleyville Post Office.

“Once the 30-day comment period is over and the interior finish goes out to bid, I think we’ll meet the deadline of getting in there by September 1,” Mr Borst said.

“We’re extremely pleased,” reiterated Ms Dwyer. “It’s a successful case of people letting their feelings be known and making a difference.”

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