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Northport post office relocation delayed

Northport Post Office in downtown Northport. (Sept. 18,

Northport Post Office in downtown Northport. (Sept. 18, 2012) Credit: Amanda Voisard

A contentious plan to relocate the Northport post office and its mail carriers from downtown has been delayed pending further study and public comment on the issue, Sen. Charles Schumer said Tuesday.

Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe told him in a phone conversation last week that any decisions regarding the Northport post office have been put on hold, according to a statement from Schumer's office. But Schumer's office did not know how long the delay would be.

His office also said the postmaster is "committed" to working with the senator "to keep the Northport post office in the same downtown location," after a phone conversation in which the senator relayed residents' concerns.

When asked to comment and confirm the conversation, USPS spokeswoman Connie Chirichello said, ''Any proposed changes at the Northport Post Office are only at the preliminary stage of consideration, and the Postal Service, as it does in all similar cases, will work closely with all stakeholders as this process moves forward.''

She declined to elaborate or provide any other information.

"Our priority is for the postal operations to stay the same as they are," said Northport Village Deputy Mayor Henry Tobin. "The commitment that the senator has received from the postmaster general is a good first step."

Early last month, the U.S. Postal Service revealed its plans to close the 240 Main St. site and find a smaller location for retail services. Carrier operations, which include 19 routes, would be shifted to the East Northport Post Office, 297 Larkfield Rd., about 3 miles away.

Residents and elected officials such as Schumer rallied behind the post office, calling it the heart of the community, supporting business by bringing foot traffic downtown. The village's board of trustees passed a resolution opposing the plan and national lawmakers joined the debate, writing letters to the USPS and helping organize a meeting between village and agency representatives. Nationwide, the Postal Service is tightening its real estate holdings as first-class mail volume -- and revenues -- drop. Last year, the agency reported losses of more than $5 billion. Many have argued that the agency's budget woes come from its obligation to pre-fund retiree health benefits, which costs billions annually.

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