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Clearwater post offices saved; others still on block

CLEARWATER — Three Clearwater post offices that were in danger of being closed due to budget cuts have escaped the ax and will stay open, U.S. postal officials announced Tuesday.

They are the downtown post office at 650 Cleveland St., the Clearwater Beach station in the Clearwater Municipal Marina and the Countryside office at 25941 U.S. 19 N.

"There has been an evaluation, and it was determined jointly with the postmaster of Clearwater that we should take them off the list" of post offices facing closure, said Gary Sawtelle, a Postal Service spokesman. "As for why, it's never just one factor. It's a combination of things, including location and revenue."

The announcement comes as a relief to Clearwater residents who feared that their local post office would be shuttered. "We're very pleased. Our citizens wanted these post offices to stay open," Mayor Frank Hibbard said.

"I have already talked to a couple of people about this, and they were ecstatic," said City Council member George Cretekos, who noted that U.S. Rep. C.W. Bill Young had lobbied for the stations to remain.

Elsewhere in the Tampa Bay area, four post offices still face possible closure: St. Petersburg's Central station at 4001 35th St. N; a station at 103 Eighth Ave. on Pass-a-Grille in St. Pete Beach; and two Tampa post offices, at 5206 N Florida Ave. in Seminole Heights and at 6801 S Westshore Blvd. in the Port Tampa area.

An announcement on those offices may come in January. They are among hundreds of post offices nationwide that are potentially on the chopping block as the Postal Service struggles to deal with a multibillion-dollar loss this year.

To cut costs, the Postal Service had been looking at possibly closing about 3,600 stations and branches nationwide. By last month, it had dropped that number to 371. It has now cut that number to fewer than 170.

Of the three Clearwater post offices that were being considered for closure, 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.

Clearwater post offices saved; others still on block 12/15/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 7:41pm]
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