ALBANY — The downtown Albany post office has been given a new lease on life … a one-year lease, to be exact.
Mayor Dorothy Hubbard and Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff Sinyard held a joint news conference Wednesday morning to announce that the U.S. Postal Service had signed a one-year lease to maintain its branch at the 345 W. Broad Ave. facility through Sept. 30, 2014.
“I’m so excited,” Hubbard said. “We made the announcement about the V.A. clinic at the (Marine Corps Logistics) Base earlier this morning, and now here we are again with more good news.”
Sinyard said city and county officials and property manager Frances Krack, who also attended the news conference, would work with USPS officials to secure a future for the downtown post office beyond the year of the new lease.
“We hope we’ll be able to keep the facility open as a fully operational post office beyond Sept. 30, 2014, but we’ll also have an opportunity to pursue a village post office concept as well,” Sinyard said.
Krack said the post office branch has 1,000 post office boxes available and encouraged those who had moved from the facility as its announced closure loomed to move back.
“I want everyone to understand that we’re looking at this for the long haul,” Krack said. “As landlords, we’re excited to have the U.S. Post Office as one of our tenants. We’d like to encourage anyone who may have moved away from the post office to come back and be an active part of downtown.”
The officials praised U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambliss, R-Moultrie, and Johnny Isakson, R-Marietta, as well as U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop, D-Albany, for their work to keep the postal facility open.
“To put it in simple terms, we aggravated a lot of people,” Sinyard said when asked about efforts to keep the facility operational.
“As late as last Thursday, just before Ms. Krack called to say she thought the post office was going to remain open, I was on the phone with Kenneth Cutts in Congressman Bishop’s office, talking with him about the post office,” Hubbard said. “The U.S. Postal Service is a federal entity, and so the involvement of Sens. Chambliss and Isakson, Rep. Bishop and their staffs was instrumental in this announcement.
"But there has also been a lot of work done locally. Chairman Sinyard and I have been working together with other local officials to try and make this happen.”
Sinyard said public input had also played a key part in the announcement.
The 100-year-old structure, known as the Griggs Building in honor of James Matthew Griggs, the turn-of-the-century congressman who secured funding for the structure, officially opened on Feb. 24, 1912.