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Monday, November 19, 2012 - 1:45am

Private Company Could Run Albany Post Office

The U.S. Postal Service is planning to close a 100-year-old post office in downtown Albany, a decision locals worry will hurt downtown. Now officials are optimistic mail service could continue in the historic space with a private company taking over.

Postal officials are meeting with the public Tuesday afternoon to explain the plan and alternatives.

But the postal service’s lease expires next month for the post office in the Griggs Building, which opened in February 1912. USPS announced the closing last month, prompting protests from locals and now a six-month extension.

Mail service in the space could continue however, according Frances Krack, the building’s property manager. She said private companies have expressed interest in offering mail service in the space, even if the post office closes.

“We have done our homework to where we can have this backup plan with this private company [that would] come in and take over business and it will never miss a beat,” Krack said.

Albany’s downtown post office is a casualty of cost-cutting designed to stop the flow of billions of dollars in red ink. The postal service has closed and consolidated mail processing facilities and is planning to reduce hours at hundreds of small Georgia post offices.

Albany City Commissioner Roger Marietta said closing the downtown post office would cost businesses more than just changing their addresses.

“Some of these attorneys and the city and the county and a lot of public offices, their P.O. Box address is intrinsic to what they’re doing in their business,” Marietta said.

He said the closure reflects the larger financial pressures placed on the postal service by a congressional mandate that it pre-fund its health and retirement costs.

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