2012-05-17 / Front Page
USPS will maintain post office in Milltown
Officials reviewing options regarding long-term location of postal facility
U.S. Rep. Rush Holt announced the plan during a press conference at Borough Hall. Also on hand for the event were Milltown Borough Clerk Michael Januszka and Michael Piparo, supervisor of customer service at the Milltown post office.
The post office, located on Washington Avenue, was flooded during Tropical Storm Irene and has been closed since August. The USPS has relocated the Milltown operation and its carriers to East Brunswick, though a trailer is located at the site of the closed post office for Milltown residents to access their mailboxes.
Despite the commitment, which came in the form of a conference call and letter from Priscilla M. Maney, district manager of the Northern New Jersey District of the USPS, no decisions have been made whether the Milltown post office will be reopened in its current location or elsewhere.
Tuesday’s announcement was scheduled to occur at the closed post office building, but was relocated to Borough Hall due to rain. Mayor Eric Steeber was unable to attend, but in a written statement said he was pleased with the USPS commitment.
“On behalf of all those who use and work for our postal facility, I simply say ‘thank you’ to Congressman Holt and the USPS,” Steeber said.
The mayor also thanked residents of Milltown and neighboring towns for their support.
“Their impassioned pleas to the United States Postal Service did not go unheard,” he said, also noting that the outcome may have been different without Holt’s involvement.
Holt shared in Steeber’s excitement with the USPS commitment.
“This is good news,” he said. “I made it clear to [USPS officials] that Milltown deserves a post office, and they made it clear to me that Milltown will have a post office.”
Holt said he believes the USPS would seek a pre-existing structure as opposed to constructing a new building, in the event that it opts to relocate the post office.
Piparo said the USPS hired contractors to remediate the Milltown facility and that it could be ready for operation in short order, should officials choose to reopen the facility.
The installation of post office boxes and retail counters is the only glaring need, he said.
“Basically the walls are up. They’ve cleaned it and it’s all prepared to go,” he said. “They can do that in no time when they decide to do whatever they do.”
Januszka said the Borough Council has explored possible ways to remove debris in nearby waterways in order to avoid future flooding. Piparo added that the installation of watertight doors on the back of the building would also go a long way to avoid future flooding.
Holt, who began lobbying on behalf of the borough after being contacted by Steeber, offered his continued support in pursuit of solutions to enable the post office to remain on Washington Avenue.