Supervisors call on USPS to address ‘regrettable situation’ and ‘restore some retail postal operations’
Few people have ever been more relieved to see a U.S. Postal Service mailbox than the residents of Washington. But while the blue receptacle installed in front of Wine Loves Chocolate on Main Street last Friday is a welcome sight, it is no replacement for the full-service post office that the t own (and the county) has eagerly awaited for months — and Rappahannock County officials are demanding more.
At last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting, Washington Mayor Fred Catlin told supervisors that the building contractors were scheduled to begin construction of the office’s brick walls on Feb. 8, but recent snowstorms have caused delays.
Hearing Catlin's presentation, the Board moved to draft a letter to David Hollberg, marketing manager for the Northern Virginia District of the U.S. Postal Service.
The letter, signed by Board Chair Debbie Donehey, explains: “Because the town of Washington has been without a post office for so long, most of the patrons who otherwise would conduct their postal-related business in the town of Washington must travel across the county to Sperryville, including those citizens whose Washington post office boxes have been crammed into the small Sperryville facility.
“Due to the limited space in Sperryville and the ongoing pandemic, our citizens, many of whom are elderly, are waiting in long lines outside the Sperryville post office, while enduring cold winter weather, to send and retrieve their mail and packages. In light of these desperate circumstances, we are calling on
you and your U.S. Postal Service colleagues to act decisively and quickly, on three fronts, to bring relief to our citizens.”
The Chair makes three requests in her letter: that a representative from the USPS physically inspect the Washington post office site and the “regrettable situation” at the Sperryville post office; that a temporary structure be provided near the Town of Washington to house the post office boxes that are currently in Sperryville; and that the same temporary facility “restore some retail postal operations so that citizens are able to purchase stamps, mail packages, and conduct other postal-related business.”
The suggested location for the temporary post office is in the lower parking lot of the Rappahannock County Library.
It is still unclear when the permanent post office will be fully operational. Washington Mayor Fred Catlin told the supervisors last week that the most recent schedule in his possession shows the project being complete “by June 1 at the latest.”
But in a letter addressed to Senator Tim Kaine regarding the project, government liaison Scott Slusher wrote: “Facilities officials at postal headquarters report that construction of the new Washington Post
Office is ongoing, and the facility is tentatively scheduled to open by September 2021.”
Hampton district Supervisor Keir Whitson said the Board will be following the developments closely. “Supervisor Smith, my board colleagues, and I will continue to do everything possible to bring relief to our constituents who have waited too long for a post office and who find themselves on the losing end of poor planning and no interim solution,” Whitson said.