Great Cacapon, Paw Paw post offices may face reduction of hours
The Great Cacapon and Paw Paw Post Offices may have their daily hours of operation reduced from eight hours a day to six hours by September, 2014. Neither post office is slated for closing.
Both are on a current list of affected post offices across the country that could face cuts in their operating hours in a two-year, multi-phased plan by the United States Postal Service to keep rural post offices open.
Right now no details are available about what the suggested hours would be for either post office or any timeline for the changes.
The Berkeley Springs Post Office is a larger post office and is not on the list for reduced hours.
If the reduced hours are enacted, the Paw Paw and Great Cacapon Post Offices would lose 10 hours of service a week. Both postmasters are already hearing customers’ concerns and questions about what the future could bring.
Paw Paw Postmaster Lori Davis said that everyone has come in and asked about the hours being cut, whether they’re closing and what’s going on. A lot of customers are upset.
The Paw Paw Post Office isn’t closing, she said. With Berkeley Springs and Great Cacapon Post Offices being 20 to 25 miles away and being out of district with Cumberland, Davis is thinking “they might need us.” The Paw Paw Post Office also has two large mail delivery routes.
A gathering place
Davis said that the Post Office is a gathering place for residents and that a lot of people meet there in the morning as they pick up their mail. She hoped that people would express their concerns.
The Paw Paw Post Office is currently open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 8:45 a.m. to 12 noon.
Great Cacapon Postmaster Rick Dunn said that everyone is in the dark about when the possible cut in hours could occur. Residents are always asking about the potential for the Great Cacapon Post Office to close or to have its hours cut back, he said.
Dunn has been encouraging customers to mail their letters and packages at the post office and to purchase stamps and other supplies there to keep up the volume of mail and sales revenue.
Dunn has also instituted the Book Swap program with the Morgan County Public Library and is planning a fall post office trick-or-treat social. He also spearheads food and clothing drives, participates in the Great Cacapon 4th of July parade and festival and does what he can to benefit the community.
The Great Cacapon Post Office is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, with the window closed at lunchtime from 12 noon to 12:30 p.m. Saturday hours are 8 to 11 a.m.
Cathy Yarosky, United States Postal Service headquarters communications specialist, said that no decisions have been made about when the reduced hours could be enacted.
Yarosky said they would be holding community meetings beforehand so residents could have an opportunity for some input. No meeting dates have been scheduled yet.
“Before we make any decisions, we have to hear from the community,” Yarosky said.
She said that everyone would have ample notification of when and where the community meeting would be scheduled. Notices would be put in post office boxes, letters would be sent out and notices would be posted in the post offices.
The notices will have an address where people can send their comments about the reduced hours if they can’t attend the community meeting, she said.
She advised that residents of both areas keep an eye out for the community meeting notices. They can also talk to their postmaster about their concerns.
Yarosky said it would take a lot of time to roll out the changes in hours. They are slated for hundreds of small post offices across the state and country. She projected that the changes would be implemented sometime in 2014.