A public meeting will be held at 2 p.m. Wednesday at the Unionville post office to discuss options which could reduce service hours by an hour and a half each day, placing post office services in a local business as part of a private contract, or eliminating the post office altogether.
The Unionville post office is one of a number of rural post offices targeted under the POST Plan, a cost-saving measure being implemented by the U.S. Postal Service.
Unionville customers were sent a notice of the meeting in November as well as a survey asking for their preference among four different cost saving plans:
*Keep the office open, but with reduced hours, open six hours each weekday instead of the current 7 1/2. Saturday hours would not be affected. The exact timing of the shortened hours -- whether they would come from a later opening, an earlier closing, a midday break or some combination -- isn't specified, and in fact the survey asks participants for their input. A later opening time would likely impact how quickly mail would be placed in P.O. boxes.
*Study closing the office altogether and provide delivery services for those now renting post office boxes.
*Study closing the office but find an alternative location which would be operated by a contractor, usually as part of a local business.
*Study closing the office altogether but transferring P.O. Box services to another nearby post office.
The results of the survey will be revealed at Wednesday's public meeting but do not guarantee which option, if any, the postal service will ultimately choose to implement.
"It hit some of us the wrong way," said Harry Spotts, an area resident who has helped lead a petition drive to support leaving the office open as normal. The petition contains 436 signatures.
"People don't want it to go," said Janice Brothers, a county commissioner representing the area. "They don't want it to have less hours."
Spotts has been in contact with the offices of both U.S. Sen. Bob Corker and U.S. Rep. Scott DesJarlais to discuss the issue.
Spotts said that, given the rapid growth of the northwestern portion of the county in recent years, including a new high school, new businesses and subdivisions, he doesn't understand the reason for the closing.