CLEARWATER — Want to save your local post office? Try writing a letter to the Postal Service.
Snail mail only. No e-mails, please. This is the Postal Service, after all.
U.S. postal officials on Friday reduced the number of post offices nationwide that they're considering closing. But three Clearwater stations are still in danger of being shuttered.
They are the downtown post office at 650 Cleveland St., the Beach station in the Clearwater Municipal Marina, and the Countryside office at 25941 U.S. 19 N.
Of those three, the downtown office in a stately marbled landmark built in 1933 is the only facility the U.S. Postal Service owns. The other two are leased.
The three Clearwater post offices are among nine around Tampa Bay and among hundreds nationwide that are still on the chopping block as the Postal Service struggles to deal with a potential $7 billion loss this year.
Elsewhere in the bay area, three stations in Tampa, two in St. Petersburg and one on St. Pete Beach face possible closure.
To cut costs, the Postal Service had been looking at possibly closing about 3,600 stations and branches nationwide. Last month, it dropped that number to 413. On Friday it further cut the number to 371.
It's not clear when a final decision will come, said Gary Sawtelle, a Postal Service spokesman. Officials are examining how much business each post office does and how close it is to other stations, among other factors.
"These locations are still being evaluated," Sawtelle said Friday. "Once a consolidation is announced, we're taking about a four-month time line before the operation is moved. Nothing's going to happen until after the holidays."
Mike Brassfield can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (727) 445-4160.