Published: Feb 02, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Jan 31, 2013 05:54 PM
CHAPEL HILL - The U.S. Postal Service plans to replace the Timberlyne Post Office.
The plan would move mail carriers to the Carrboro Post Office on James Street, off N.C. 54 and West Main Street.
Timberlyne’s retail services would move into a new, 2,500-square-foot space, said Marla Larsen-Williams, a real estate specialist with the USPS facilities implementation office.
The post office has leased the 10,727-square-foot storefront at Timberlyne for about 20 years, said a leasing agent with Rivercrest Realty Associates in Raleigh.
Larsen-Williams wrote leasing new space in the same part of town would allow for “an upgraded, modern facility.”
“In the face of unsustainable deficits, the Postal Service must seek ways to cut costs and reduce the size of its infrastructure,” she wrote in a letter to the town.
If the USPS finds a suitable location quickly, the post office could be in its new home by the end of the year, she said. That will be the only change customers should see, she said.
Timberlyne is one of two full-size post offices in Chapel Hill. A smaller office is located in the historic courthouse downtown.
Federal law requires the Postal Service to notify local leaders and residents about plans to expand, relocate or build a new customer service office. The law also gives the community time to weigh in on the decision.
“We want to be very upfront with the community about what we’re looking at, to be very transparent,” Larsen-Williams said.
Timberlyne customers said Wednesday that stamp-dispensing machines have been removed from the post office in recent years and the service hours were cut back. Most did not know about the new plans.
Chapel Hill resident David Snow, who has a postal box at Timberlyne, said the post office “provides a really vital service” and is staffed by “genuinely nice people.”
“I talk to them and we share personal stories about our lives,” Snow said. “You develop a personal relationship with these people.”
Local postal service employees declined to comment about potential changes.