By PATRICK HALL, The Wilson Post
Norenes Post Office was not included in a list of 60 United States Postal Service offices in Tennessee that will be studied for the Services new Village Post Office proposal and is now awaiting official word whether the location will close its doors for good or continue to serve the local communities.
A period of citizen-input came to an end last week, on July 22, which allowed residents of Norene to give the USPS their feelings about the possible closure of the Norene office.
Beth Barnett, spokesperson for the USPS Tennessee District, said they were required by law to have a 60-day period for public input, a window that began on May 20 and included a June 2 town hall meeting held in Norene by the USPS.
With the window for public input closing last week, Barnett said the USPS headquarters will review all comments and continue to study the post office. She said the decision could be made next week on whether to close the Norene P.O. or it could come several months later.
It could be as early as next week to see some movement, Barnett said. But experience indicates sometimes it takes quite a bit longer.
The USPS released a list of 3,700 retail offices nationwide, on Tuesday for study to possibly move postal services into local businesses instead of maintaining the existing 32,000 USPS retail offices across the nation.
Norene was not on the list of studied locations in Tennessee and Barnett said it missed out on the list because it was already under study about a possible closing. The new study presents the Village Post Office as a potential replacement for a USPS retail office.
It was already in progress when this new list came out, Barnett said. Thats something thats still under study.
The Village Post Offices will be operated out of local businesses such as pharmacies, grocery stores and other locations. Barnett said the new study is a way for the USPS to reduce its operating costs.
The Postal Service is in dire financial straits right now, she said, which is one of the reasons the Norene Post Office may close its doors.
A letter sent to Norene residents in May indicated the community would be put on Rural Route Service from the Lebanon Post Office, nearly 13 miles away, if they decided to close the local post office. The move to a Rural Route would cost the USPS considerably less than operating the brick-and-mortar building in Norene that has existed since 1878.
If the USPS decides to close the Norene Post Office after taking into account the public input, Barnett said they will notify residents at least 60 days prior to the locations closing. She said the publics input will be a large factor in the final decision to close or keep the Norene office in business.
Patrick Hall may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org