Make us your home page

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

North Pinellas residents already worry Beach, Countryside post offices may close

Kosta Battalapulo, who lives in Sand Key, enters the Clearwater Beach Post Office to mail a letter Tuesday. He says he doesn’t want to see the beach office close.


Kosta Battalapulo, who lives in Sand Key, enters the Clearwater Beach Post Office to mail a letter Tuesday. He says he doesn’t want to see the beach office close.

CLEARWATER — Rumors are swirling that the Clearwater Beach and Countryside post offices are going to close, but the U.S. Postal Service says it hasn't made any decisions yet.

Postal officials say they'll probably shut down some post offices in the Tampa Bay area later this year due to budget cuts, but they haven't picked which locations will go dark.

"We're doing a preliminary review nationwide of stations and branches, looking to potentially consolidate some of them," said Gary Sawtelle, a Postal Service spokesman in Tampa. "We can expect some closures here, but we just don't know which ones at this time."

Still, the Clearwater City Council and the Clearwater Beach Chamber of Commerce, among other groups, are concerned about the possibility of local post offices being shuttered.

"It would be a terrible mistake to close the beach post office," said Sheila Cole, executive director of the beach chamber. "We need to be proactive about keeping it, and letting the powers-that-be know how important it is. It's not an easy thing to get from the beach to the downtown post office."

The City Council recently discussed reports that a decision had already been made to close the beach and Countryside branches. If that happened, council members noted that the post office on N Hercules Avenue would become the closest option for Countryside residents, and the downtown station would be the nearest one to the beach.

Mayor Frank Hibbard met with Clearwater's postmaster last week to get more information.

"I told him there were people on the beach and in Countryside who are concerned about losing their post office," Hibbard said. "His statement was that it's premature to get concerned about different offices closing because none of those determinations have been made yet."

The U.S. Postal Service says it's making changes to its business model because it's losing nearly $2 billion every three months. It's delivering 32 billion fewer pieces of mail per year than it was just a couple of years ago.

To cut costs, it intends to close 3,100 stations and branches nationwide, and eliminate 44,000 employees through attrition and early retirements.

It's looking at consolidating locations in urban areas that have multiple postal stations and branches. Around Tampa Bay, that includes Clearwater (six stations), St. Petersburg (11), Tampa (20) and Brooksville (five).

"In the larger cities, people have more access to other ways to get their mail services taken care of. And normally, stations and branches are a little closer together, within a couple miles of each other," Sawtelle said.

Officials will examine each post office and how much mail it takes in, how many stamps and shipping envelopes it sells, and how close it is to other stations.

"We'll cull out the ones that make the most sense," Sawtelle said. No action will be taken before Oct. 1, and public meetings will be held for each post office that faces closure.

"The brick-and-mortar post office is something we're trending away from," he said. "You can do everything you need online," such as print your own postage, order flat-rate delivery boxes, and schedule the pickup of packages from your home.

It's not clear exactly when the public will learn which post offices are slated for closure.

"I don't believe we've ever done this," Sawtelle said. "It really is a product of the times."

Mike Brassfield can be reached at or (727) 445-4160.


Clearwater post offices

Main: 100 S Belcher Road

Beach: 45 Causeway Blvd.

Countryside: 25941 U.S. 19 N

Downtown: 650 Cleveland St.

High Point: 4600 140th Ave. N

Sunset Point: 1851 N Hercules Ave.

North Pinellas residents already worry Beach, Countryside post offices may close 06/30/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 7:30pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

  1. Lightning takes defenseman Cal Foote with top pick in draft

    Lightning Strikes

    CHICAGO — Former Avalanche defenseman Adam Foote said his son Cal lived in the locker room.

    Cal Foote, second from left, is welcomed to the Lightning by GM Steve Yzerman, far left.
  2. It's Rays' turn to pound Orioles pitching (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG - Ah, the fantastic four.

    The Rays smashed the reeling Orioles 15-5 on Friday, scoring a season-high in runs, to climb four games above .500 for the first time since July 1, 2015.

    Rays third baseman Evan Longoria scores on a triple by Logan Morrison during the first inning against the Orioles.
  3. Lightning picks defenseman Cal Foote


    Cal Foote is the son of former Avs defenseman Adam Foote.
  4. Kids today: They don't work summer jobs the way they used to


    WASHINGTON — It was at Oregon's Timberline Lodge, later known as a setting in the horror movie The Shining, where Patrick Doyle earned his first real paycheck.

    Teens Ben Testa, from left, Hannah Waring and Abby McDonough, and Wegmeyer Farms owner Tyler Wegmeyer walk the strawberry rows at the Hamilton, Va., farm in late May.
  5. Jeb Bush back in the hunt for the Marlins, now opposing Derek Jeter


    Associated Press:

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has switched sides in pursuit of the Miami Marlins, and he’s trying to beat out former teammate Derek Jeter.