Earlier this year, residents of Berkley organized town hall meetings where they met with USPS officials to convey their dismay with the plan to close the facility. The USPS has said that closing selected post offices across the nation, including the Berkley one, would save some $1.3 billion dollars.
During the meetings in Berkley, groups and individuals greeted USPS officials with placards displaying their displeasure with the agency’s plans. “It seems that our efforts won us some time,” said Boone. “I am hoping that the postal service will realize the importance of this facility and keep it open. If not we are willing to start it all over again to keep it open.”
George Banks, a long-time resident and community leader of Berkley, said if the USPS wanted to save money, they would keep the Berkley facility open “since they do not have to lease that building as they do at Janaf, Atlantic Avenue or Poindexter Avenue (in Chesapeake).”
“We’ve got to be careful and keep track with the next move by the USPS because they are determined to save money some place; they have to to stay alive,” said Banks. “It seems they always look for facilities in the Black community to close down first to achieve that goal. We could wake up tomorrow and all we have worked for will be gone. We know this is not over. We must be active and vigilant.”
While the Berkley post office has been given a temporary reprieve, postal officials say they will go ahead with plans for reducing operations at the Norfolk Processing and Distribution Center on Church Street. It is not clear when the transfer of operations will take place. A USPS official said that it will not take place during the agency’s busiest season between September and January.
The USPS announced late last year that it would ship most of the distribution operations from the massive Church Street operations to a facility outside of Richmond.
The plan would slow the delivery time of many bulk and flat mail operations. Also, it would cut some 260 jobs currently at the Norfolk facility.