ITHACA, N.Y. — Senator Chuck Schumer has penned a letter urging the postmaster general to help hash out an agreement that would keep the Tioga Street United State Postal Service branch open in downtown Ithaca.
Local officials have recently expressed concern that the Post Office branch located at 213 N. Tioga Street, having only signed a two-year lease, might be planning on moving — causing major inconvenience for businesses and residents that rely on the downtown branch for their postal needs.
“Ithaca’s historic downtown post office is a pillar of the city’s business district, with countless residents and commercial institutions dependent on its central location and easy accessibility for their postal needs,” said Sen. Schumer. “USPS needs to deliver on local concerns and negotiate in good faith to ensure a long-term solution for the post office that boosts Ithaca.”
Executive Director of the Downtown Ithaca Alliance (DIA), Gary Ferguson originally raised the alarm. The DIA voted on a resolution at their board meeting in early January expressing the DIA’s desire to retain the downtown location.
“In the past dozen years, downtown Ithaca has added over a thousand new residents in hundreds of new housing units. In total, we have added over 1,000,000 square feet of new space in Downtown — including housing, lodging, office, tech jobs and retail,” said Ferguson. “Over half a billion dollars have been invested here. If there is a place that needs a federal Post Office, it is here in the heart of Downtown Ithaca.”
In response, Mayor Svante Myrick penned a letter to Sen. Schumer in late January, asking New York’s federal representatives for assistance in applying pressure to the USPS and Postmaster General Megan Brennan. Myrick expressed gratitude for the intervention of New York’s senior senator.
“Ithaca’s downtown post office location is critical to the operations and health of many downtown businesses as well as over 10,000 residents who live within walking distance of the office,” said Myrick. “I am grateful for Senator Schumer’s help in communicating the importance of maintaining the post office location downtown and we look forward to continuing to work with the USPS and the Town of Ithaca to ensure that we can maintain this busy and active facility where the community needs it – in the heart of growing and bustling Downtown Ithaca.”
Schumer’s letter to the Post Master General can be read below:
Dear Postmaster General Brennan,
I write on behalf of the businesses, organizations and residents of Ithaca, New York, regarding the potential relocation of their post office in downtown Ithaca. Moving the post office to outside the downtown would have a negative economic impact on the hundreds of businesses and community members, which depend on the facility for their postal needs. I strongly urge the USPS to quickly meet with local officials and stakeholders, and begin working with them to establish a mutually acceptable long-term solution.
For years, Ithaca has greatly benefited from the convenience and centrality of its historic downtown post office. Ithaca is a pedestrian-oriented community, and the post office is in the heart of its central business district, with many businesses dependent on the ease of the downtown post office for their operations. The location also services many residents who are reliant on the post office’s accessibility and would be greatly hindered should it move to a more remote location. The City of Ithaca, the Town of Ithaca, and the Downtown Ithaca Alliance have all expressed both overwhelming support to preserve the post office’s downtown location and their willingness to work with the USPS in resolving this matter. This vast coalition demonstrates the great significance of this post office to the community and highlights the need for the USPS to come to the table and hear from local leaders.
Given the importance of this post office, and the potential long-lasting impacts on the Ithaca community, I encourage the USPS to quickly address this issue and begin work to create a permanent solution in conjunction with local leaders, which preserves the accessibility of postal services to the residents and businesses of downtown Ithaca. Thank you for your attention to this important request.
Feature Image by Sara Oliver