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Proposed changes for some LI post offices

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

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

The drama at the Northport post office over plans to sell the downtown site and move mail carriers apparently is playing out in other Long Island communities.

Now, the Postal Service is planning to transfer Babylon carriers to West Babylon, agency spokeswoman Connie Chirichello said Thursday, and is reviewing operations at the Cedarhurst facility. Union leaders contend the plans are just the beginning for these villages.

The proposed changes by the money-losing Postal Service, which is downsizing nationwide, have evoked anger and frustration from residents and elected officials, many of whom believe they are in the dark about major happenings in their communities.

Among the changes are plans to transfer Babylon carriers from 110 Cooper St. to the West Babylon site on Route 109, Chirichello said. But "there is no discussion on moving the retail unit/post office boxes in the near future," she said in an email.

Walter Barton, president of the Long Island chapter of the National Association of Letter Carriers, said there are about 20 carriers at the Babylon site.

Also, the Postal Service is studying the Cedarhurst post office on Grove Avenue, as it did in Northport, as it continues to shrink operations. She said there was no other information available about Cedarhurst.

Nationwide, the Postal Service is tightening its real estate holdings as first-class mail volume -- and revenue -- drop. Last year, the agency reported losses of more than $5 billion.

Currently, the Postal Service plans to sell the Northport Main Street site, open a smaller retail location and move its carriers to East Northport.

Peter Furgiuele, president of the Long Island chapter of the American Postal Workers Union, said postal officials told him that "eventually Babylon and Cedarhurst will be put up for sale" and replaced with smaller retail sites. The union represents all of the postal workers, except the letter carriers.

Barton, too, was notified by postal officials of other plans, including moving the about dozen Cedarhurst carriers to the Woodmere post office, about a mile away. Barton said the Cedarhurst carriers deliver mail by foot, and if moved, he is concerned they wouldn't be able to continue doing that. The Postal Service would need to purchase delivery vehicles, he said.

But many have argued that post offices are essential parts of their communities and aid local businesses. Several local elected officials, including Babylon Village Mayor Ralph Scordino, are angry they weren't informed about the proposed changes.

"I don't understand that," Scordino said, adding that he will fight the move.

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