STAFF WRITER JENNIFER FIERRO
The Granite Shoals contract postal unit will be closed as of Jan. 31, and residents will be forced to head to Marble Falls for “full retail services.”
That’s the word from the United States Postal Service.
According to Becky Hernandez, the agency’s acting strategic communications specialist for the Arkansas and Rio Grande districts, the postal service offers contract postal units across the nation, including the one in Granite Shoals.
These units are a partnership between the postal service and a contract vendor, and the terms allow either party to terminate the contract unilaterally.
“In this case, the vendor decided to abruptly terminate the contract, which takes effect on Jan. 31, 2019, the last day of operation at the Granite Shoals CPU,” Hernandez said.
On Jan. 24, postal management notified post office box customers about the closure and gave options on mailing needs, Hernandez said, including for continued delivery of mail.
Hernandez said the U.S. Postal Service is willing to work with local businesses in Granite Shoals to explore viable options for another contract postal unit. A solicitation is currently posted at the Granite Shoals contract postal unit for anyone interested in information about establishing a similar site within specific contractual boundaries.
In the meantime, residents are asked to go to the Marble Falls Post Office, 1212 U.S. 281 North, for their postal needs after Jan. 31.
Granite Shoals City Manager Jeff Looney said he plans to address the importance of reopening a contract postal unit and the need for the city to have its own post office and ZIP code with City Council during its next meeting Feb. 12. Right now, the city shares the 78654 ZIP code with Marble Falls.
He said city staff would be delighted to talk to people interested in obtaining and operating a contract postal unit.
“I think we would try to help folks with what we could as a city,” he said.
The reason Looney believes Granite Shoals should have its own ZIP code goes back to economic development. When residents spend money, city leaders can see what they’re buying based on their ZIP codes. That helps leaders know the types of businesses to target in attempts to attract owners to the area.
Since Granite Shoals doesn’t have its own ZIP code, it’s harder for Looney to get that vital information, he said.
“We want to be in a position to guide the growth of Granite Shoals and not let the growth guide us,” he said, “That (economic) leakage from this community is quite large, though I don’t have a number figure on it.”
Looney said he has already talked to several residents about his desire for the city to have its own ZIP code and post office, which was met with applause, he added.
He also plans to talk to the state representatives about the issue.
“With our CPU closing, we need to consider the ramifications for that with no post office and no ZIP code,” Looney said. “Retail, medical, industrial, whatever we can do to make Granite Shoals a better place.”