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Montpelier to get a replacement post office nearly a year after floods left it without one

Apr 1, 2024

The Postal Service signed a lease agreement Friday for a space on Main Street that it hopes will be ready for summer.

A brick building with a green stripe and cream-colored section.
City Center in Montpelier on Monday, November 7, 2022. Photo by Glenn Russell/VTDigger

MONTPELIER — The post office is coming back to downtown, according to the U.S. Postal Service, and the goal is to have it ready before summer. 

On Friday afternoon, the Postal Service signed a lease agreement for a space in the City Center building on 89 Main St. in Montpelier. A grand opening date has not been set yet, according to Postal Service spokesperson Stephen Doherty.

The service’s occupancy officially began April 1, but the process of building out the space to suit its needs will take some time. The work involves widening a couple doorways to accommodate the post office’s rolling equipment and installing the P.O. boxes, retail counter, safe, security features and IT infrastructure, according to Doherty. 

Once it is operational, however, the Main Street post office should provide the full retail and box services the State Street post office used to, he said. 

“There will be a counter where you can buy boxes, stamps, everything,” Doherty said.

The capital has been without a post office since the federal building that housed it, at 87 State St., was hit by flooding in July. The situation has left some businesses and residents in Montpelier and Middlesex without mail and with no physical post office to pick up medicine or bills. 

“This is a really big win for the community of Montpelier,” said Ben Doyle, president of the Montpelier Commission for Recovery and Resilience. “A lot of people worked really hard for this. This was a team sport.” 

The commission is an independent body set up shortly after the floods to lead projects supporting the city’s renewal. Recovering the post office became one of its main objectives. 

Vermont’s congressional delegation — U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., U.S. Sen. Peter Welch, D-Vt., and U.S. Rep. Becca Balint, D-Vt. — also advocated for the reopening of the post office and criticized the Postal Service for its lack of action.

In a joint statement Monday night, the three members of Congress said they welcomed the news, calling it “an important step in the right direction.” Sanders, Welch and Balint also repeated their criticism of the agency, saying that “the failure of USPS leadership to address this matter in a safe, timely, and transparent manner remains unacceptable and emblematic of a nationwide crisis made worse by Postmaster General Louis DeJoy.”

Doyle, meanwhile, praised the congressional delegation for going to bat for Vermont’s capital.

“I mean, you had Sen. Welch on the floor of the U.S. Senate talking about the Montpelier post office,” said Doyle, who also leads the nonprofit Preservation Trust of Vermont, which has an office in downtown Montpelier. 

But Doyle emphasized that the bulk of the pressure was exerted by the people who live in Montpelier. 

“Regular residents were writing to the Postal Service saying that this was unacceptable,” he said. “We’re just happy to see (the post office) return to downtown Montpelier.”

In the meantime, the federal building on State Street remains in disrepair, with no date set for its reopening. According to the General Services Administration, which owns the building, stabilization works will continue through late 2024. 

“Further investigation is required to identify additional issues and determine the extent of necessary repairs,” administration spokesperson Paul Hughes said in an email Monday. “Building heat has been restored and additional HVAC repairs continue.”

Story Written by Juan Vega de Soto, VTDigger

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