Chicago residents react to potential post office closures

July 27, 2011

(WBEZ/Kate Dries)
The Haymarket Post Office in the West Loop is one of 14 offices in the Chicago-area that could be closed
(WBEZ/Kate Dries)

The U.S. Postal Service announced Tuesday that it will be evaluating whether to close 14 Chicago-area post offices over the next few months because of a lack of revenue. More than 200 offices in Illinois are on a list that includes 3,700 locations nationwide. The majority of the Chicago offices slated for closure are on the South and West Sides of the city.

Tanny Terrell worked near the Haymarket Post Office in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, but recently lost her job in commercial real estate. She'll be looking for new work come next week. "Technology is pushing a lot of us out of work...but I think there's still enough old school that like to mail letters and have the personal touch that institutions like this, if it were to go away, it would be a shame," said Terrell.

Cathy Hodges lives on the South Side, but she has kept a P.O. Box at the Haymarket office near where she works for ten years. She said she doesn't trust her mailbox at home, which is outside, and so she comes to the office frequently. "I work in the legal profession, and we still mail everything," she said.

Post office spokesman Mark Reynolds said the threatened locations are all in low-traffic neighborhoods or have another office relatively nearby, but that it's too soon to tell how many jobs will be affected by the closings. He said USPS wasn't worried about crowding at the remaining locations, and is adding what they call "Village Post Offices" to grocery and convenience stores. Those locations will sell stamps and basic post office products.

"Crowding at other post offices would be a wonderful problem to have," said Reynolds. According to the USPS, 35% of its revenue is unrelated to the local post offices.