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Selectboard: Keep Wendell post office open

WENDELL — The Wendell Selectboard is asking the U.S. Postal Service to maintain the hours of the Wendell post office and keep the position of a full-time postmaster.

Over the past few weeks, community members have come together to save their post office as it becomes next in line to face possible reduced hours or closure as the U.S. Postal Service tries to make up revenue losses.

A community meeting for Wendell residents is planned for today at 7 p.m. at the Wendell Town Offices building for residents working to save the post office. The meeting is in advance of a second July 8 public forum on the future of the Wendell post office by postal authorities.

The public forum is scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Wendell Town Hall.

The selectboard is requesting that the meeting be rescheduled for an evening time so more local residents can attend.

In a letter to the postal service, the Selectboard cited the local economy and businesses as a main reason to keep the local office open. It also reasoned that the lack of high-speed broadband Internet in Wendell makes residents more reliant on the post office. Board members Christine Heard, Daniel Keller and Jeoffrey Pooser sent similar letters to U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern, Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Ed Markey, and state Sen. Stanley Rosenberg and state Rep. Denise Andrews.

“The Wendell post office is central to our local economy and helps to keep the hub of our rural town center alive,” the board wrote. “When people come to the Wendell post office, they spend money in Wendell at our local country store, restaurant and weekly farmer’s market, which are all located next door. After stopping at the post office, they often go on to visit the Wendell Public Library, senior center, town offices and recycling center.”

The board also argued that the town post office serves as a regional hub serving residents beyond Wendell to New Salem, Warwick, Montague, Shutesbury and Orange.

“Our small businesses in town rely on the post office for the operation of their businesses. We have a large number of people in Wendell who do not have rural mail delivery available and depend on the post office to conduct business,” the board stated.

The selectboard is also asking that the postal service keep the postmaster, Charlie O’Dowd, and that his hours and benefits stay the same.

“Wendell Postmaster Charlie O’Dowd is a beloved part of our community that he has served for nearly 25 years, during which time he has received over 20 awards from the USPS,” the board wrote.

During his tenure, the board said O’Dowd introduced many services such as offering passport photos, copying and fax services, bulk mailing and advanced deposit accounts for small businesses.

“Charlie O’Dowd gives the USPS a good reputation and it would be a severe personal loss to our community if he were unable to continue as our postmaster due to changes in USPS policies,” the board stated.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at: kmckiernan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261 ext. 268 On Twitter, follow @RecorderKatMcK

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