City officials hopeful grassroots effort can save post office

By Kevin Wilson: Freedom New Mexico

A Clovis city commissioner is hopeful that a public effort can save the Gidding Street post office like it helped save Cannon Air Force Base.

In the days following the second public meeting about the post office, which the U.S. Postal Service wishes to close for financial reasons, Commissioner Len Vohs said he hopes a public effort can convince the USPS to find other solutions.

“Grassroots … is what I think saved Cannon,” Vohs said. “When you have a letter from the city, a resolution from the city, a resolution from the county, a resolution from the chamber of commerce, the industrial commission and MainStreet, that’s a group that encompasses almost everybody in this area.

“This is what the area wants, and this is what’s good for the community.”

Albuquerque USPS spokesperson Barbara Wood said there have been no offers to buy the postal service-owned Gidding Street building, where the post office uses only 5,000 of the 28,000 available square footage. The district attorney’s office also rents office space at the location.

If the building can be sold, the intent is to do so and consolidate all operations into the post office on 21st Street.

City and business officials reject the move, on the basis it would hamper the downtown area, which is within walking distance of the Giddings Street post office. Suggestions offered have included renting out more of the office space at the Gidding Street location to boost revenues and moving operations to a more central building than the 21st Street location.

Vohs said he wants to create a task force with representatives from the City of Clovis, Curry County, industrial development organizations and the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce to mark out the next step.

At a meeting last week, officials spoke of a possible Washington, D.C., trip to speak with the postmaster general.

“We have been assured from all of the delegates from Washington they’re willing to help,” Vohs said. “They just need to tell us where to go.”

City Manager Joe Thomas said the city is still in the information-gathering process. There have been talks with the membership of the Postal Regulatory Commission, which Thomas said has some oversight of the USPS but no authority to overrule a decision.