ITHACA, N.Y.—The downtown Ithaca post office will stay on North Tioga Street after the negotiation of a long-term lease with the Town of Ithaca and the U.S. Postal Service.

The agreement was announced by U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer in a press release. Schumer had joined the push after the situation became public before the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. The post office has been downtown at that location since 2000, when it was redesigned and rehabilitated and the larger portion of the building was converted into the Ithaca Town Hall.

Ithaca Town Supervisor Rod Howe told the Ithaca Voice that the new lease will last at least five years, with two additional five year renewal options, meaning it could keep the post office at its current location until the mid-2030s. The post office’s potential departure had angered local residents, as the next closest U.S. Post Office is several miles away on Warren Road, and another downtown mailing option, the Pack & Ship on the Commons, closed down in the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic.

Schumer’s office wrote that the deal “puts Ithaca’s businesses, organizations, and residents first and acknowledges the economic importance of the post office’s convenient location in the community.”

“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, which is why I called on the USPS to keep it right where it is,” Schumer said in the release. “I am pleased to hear that the USPS has worked with local leaders in good faith to ensure a long-term solution for the post office that boosts Ithaca. As Ithaca has grown over the years, the post office has been critical in keeping the community connected and will continue to help the region grow for years to come.”

“The Town of Ithaca is pleased that we have negotiated a long-term lease that builds upon a 20 year history of having the U.S. Postal Service as a tenant and importantly, as a downtown Ithaca presence,” added Howe in the announcement. 

“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,” Schumer said in his initial appeal for support from the USPS. “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.”

“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,” Mayor Svante Myrick said in a letter to the USPS in January 2020. “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.”

Matt Butler

Matt Butler is the Education & Public Health Reporter at the Ithaca Voice. He can be reached by email at mbutler@ithacavoice.com