Anger, stress, inconvenience, and more describe the current Postal service situation in Poplarville
Published 7:33 pm Tuesday, February 21, 2023
It has been nearly 13 months since the Poplarville post office’s roof collapsed. Since then, there has been little to no knowledge regarding the building and the city’s postal services’ future. Residents described their current postal experience as upsetting, stressful, inconvenient, terrible, and aggravating. But some light was shined on this situation this previous week and a true solution could be brought within the next 30 days. But that’s a tale the citizens have heard before.
Need to Know
On Thursday, February 17, a postal executive by the name of June Martin met with local community officials and Congressional representatives to discuss the Poplarville, MS Post Office. They will meet again in 30 days to discuss the status. Mayor Louise Smith, Representatives from Pearl River County Senator Roger Wicker, and Congressman Mike Ezell’s office were able to meet with the Alabama-Mississippi District Manager for the United States Postal Service. The City is acting on its resident’s behalf but the city is limited to a certain point. The city isn’t directly responsible for the post office because it is considered a Federal building.
“Citizens we have finally had a meeting with a representative for the United States Post Office. Please be aware this is a federal building under the executive branch of government and not handled by the city, county, or state, which is why this is so difficult, but we will continue our fight for the people’s wishes & everyone this affects,” said via Poplarville City Facebook post.
This was a closed meeting to the public and media but said in their Facebook post; Local concerns as to current operating conditions and the repair of the structure were heard. And at this present moment, a decision from the faculties department of USPS is still pending.
On Tuesday, Feb. 21 Mayor Smith, spoke with the Item about what perspired in that meeting and what could be for the post office’s future. She believes the meeting was productive to the point where the District Manager will investigate a temporary solution and location.
First, Mayor Smith wants a proper structural and inspection report of the now-closed Post Office building. No reports have been shared between the two parties. In any case, if the building is repairable, fixing it and reopening it is an option.
Second, during last Thursday’s meeting, 6 temporary locations/spaces were proposed by City Attorney Greg P. Holcomb to the District Manager and they did listen. In previous coverage, 2 locations were offered to the USPS but there’s been no response about it. Mayor Smith hopes they will hear a constructive answer after the next 30 days. An immediate and temporary location is in need mainly for the workers and the senior/handicapped citizens. Workers are stuck operating in unsafe conditions and the mobile van’s location has a slight slope making it none wheelchair accessible. The County did offer the parking lot across from the post office as a temporary location. Although it will be easier for seniors and handicapped members, it doesn’t solve the harsh working environment.
How The Citizens Feel
The city and its residents have various solutions to the issue, but what is frustrating everyone is the lack of response from the postal service.
“Our voice is not being heard,” said Mayor Smith. “The post office means so much to the people and they’re completely disfranchising the elderly and the handicap and I don’t understand it.”
Based on residential comments, what they want is a temporary location, an actual building that will house everything. A Poplarville resident said the situation is “terrible.” He was also upset about the workers, and the working environment. They work in tight quarters and travel from one van to another to get a resident’s mail. Other residents are very concerned for the workers when it rains, or when the weather gets bad because they still have to work in those conditions. Another resident said there is not one customer who’s happy about this. Especially PO box customers, who can no longer retrieve their mail and have to wait in line instead.
When asked what questions residents would ask the Alabama-Mississippi District Manager for the United States Postal Service, the majority asked where are they moving the post office because “Anything is better than this.”
There is a lot of frustration, feeling of being in the dark, and lack of care being felt in Poplarville by the Postal Service. There is one fact; the City of Poplarville is one when it comes to providing for its people. They feel for each other, the workers, and the City. All in all, they want to be heard and see action being taken in their city.
As of now, the Postal Service has maintained retail service including transactions such as stamp purchases, mailing letters, and shipping packages at a mobile van in the parking lot of the facility. Hours of operation are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., and Saturday, 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. Post Office Box customers who present the proper identification, also may pick up their mail and packages at this location. Service is not available on Sundays. Customers may choose to conduct retail transactions at the Hattiesburg Main Post Office, located at 220 S. 40th Ave. Hours of operation for that location are Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m., and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. This location is closed on Sundays.
The Item will continue to cover this topic and will recap the District Manager’s response 30 days from now.