By Ted AYALA
The Glendale City Council passed a resolution Tuesday expressing its opposition to the proposed shuttering by the United States Post Office (USPS) of its historic Glendale Central Post Office at 313 E. Broadway.
Built during the height of the Great Depression in 1932-1934, the Neo-Renaissance style Central Post Office has become, along with the Alex Theatre and Brand Library, one of Glendale’s most recognizable buildings. In 1985, the building was added to the National Registry of Historic Places.
But the advent of the Internet and email, as well as the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act of 2006, have taken their toll on USPS finances. Last November, the agency announced a budget shortfall of nearly $16 billion for fiscal year 2012. Drastic measures have been proposed to stop the flood of red ink, including the end of Saturday service and the mass closing of postal processing centers and post offices across the country – including Glendale’s Central Post Office.
Public opposition to the closing was heard at a public forum to discuss the issue last month. Local public officials, including Rep. Adam Schiff, have also called upon the USPS to reconsider its plans.
The resolution is part of a last-ditch effort by the city to halt USPS’ plans, although the council noted that the resolution ultimately may not count for much, stating that it was necessary to take a stand against the proposal.
Council expressed concern that the closing of the post office would negatively affect the potential residents of the new apartment complexes being built in downtown.
“Having a central post office in our downtown when we have a couple thousand new apartment units coming is very, very important for our residents,” said Councilmember Laura Friedman.
Worry over how the closing would affect local businesses was also voiced by Councilmember Frank Quintero, a concern echoed by his colleague Councilmember Zareh Sinayan.
“Where are all those business people going to go?” asked Quintero. “They’re going to have to drive the distance to do their mailings.”
If the post office does ultimately end up for sale, its inclusion in the National Registry of Historic Places could make it difficult for potential new owners to effect any substantial changes to the site. The city in the past has suggested closing any of the other three post offices within a one-mile radius of the Central Post Office as preferable options.
The USPS in its proposal for the closing of the building has pointed out that the building is too large and expensive to maintain. Cost-cutting measures announced by the USPS began in 2011 with a proposal to cut its number of mail processing centers by over half. That was followed up in May 2012 with an announcement that it would shut down over 3,700 post offices across the country. Its proposal to end Saturday service was met with stiff opposition by Congress earlier this year. The agency announced in April that it would continue Saturday service at least through Sept. 30 of this year.