Nonprofit reacts to post office signing short term lease by developing a committee that will advocate for keeping the post office in the downtown community
ITHACA NY JANUARY 22, 2020 —The Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA) is concerned that the U.S Postal Service is going to move its downtown location elsewhere. The organization recently learned that the Postal Service has signed a short-term lease for its post office on Tioga Street, a short half block from the densely populated Commons pedestrian mall.
This action is a red flag to the DIA because this isn’t the first time the U.S. Postal Service’s future site plans have come into question. In 2000, the agency considered leaving the downtown community to consolidate at its suburban Warren Road post office near the Ithaca Tompkins Regional Airport. The DIA fought then to keep the services at a downtown site. The Postal Service has had a post office in the downtown community for more than 100 years,
Now that the Postal Service has only negotiated for a two-year lease for its current downtown location, the DIA worries the agency has reignited possible plans to relocate to an alternative site outside of downtown. The DIA believes losing the downtown post office location will be extremely detrimental to Ithaca’s central business district and it is preparing to strongly advocate to keep it in the downtown community.
“If the post office relocates to a site outside of downtown then it will materially affect the operations of businesses and the lives of many residents living in and around the downtown core who depend on this post office to be centrally located and within walking distance and near our community’s transit hub. The Downtown Ithaca post office location is an extremely busy destination that services this community’s business and resident base and many of the affected residents are households of limited means who would find using a car or transit to travel to a more remote post office location difficult and costly,” says DIA Executive Director Gary Ferguson.
Downtown Ithaca is home to some 100 retailers, more than 60 food and beverage businesses and over 400 professional and office businesses, employing approximately 3,500 individuals many of whom rely on quick, walkable access to a post office.
In addition, more than 10,000 people representing six different neighborhoods are within walking distance of the downtown post office and use the various services — post office boxes, money orders, mail and package delivery — available at this conveniently located site. Plus, downtown Ithaca is growing and will add more residents and business professionals to the community once Harold’s Square is complete next year. Also, more housing — at least another 400 units — and business development in downtown’s Green Street Garage superblock is coming online in the foreseeable future. Residents and businesses housed in these new developments are likely going to want walkable access to post office services.
Ferguson says the DIA will work with the City of Ithaca and other interested parties to encourage the local and federal officials to advocate for the post office to remain downtown.
“Downtown Ithaca is the commercial and social center of the Ithaca community deserving of quick, convenient, walkable access to postal services. The DIA Board of Directors respectfully requests the U.S. Postal Service to retain a presence in this downtown community for many years to come,” says Ferguson.
The DIA is creating an ad hoc committee that will work with local and federal officials to ensure that the Ithaca Post Office remains in downtown Ithaca. In addition, the organization encourages the public to voice its opinions about losing this valuable service in the downtown community by contacting Congressman Tom Reed’s Office at (607) 654-7566 or sending a letter to him at 89 W. Market St., Corning, NY 14830.
Darlene M. Wilber
ABOUT THE DOWNTOWN ITHACA ALLIANCE: The Downtown Ithaca Alliance is a 503(c) not-for-profit organization charged with the revitalization, development, promotion, and management of the Downtown Ithaca Business Improvement District (DIBID). The organization represents the stakeholders, residents, businesses, and property owners in DIBID. For additional information, visit downtownithaca.com.