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July 28, 2011

Lake Cicott post office might be shut down

One of several local post offices to make study list

LAKE CICOTT — Nathan Graham stopped at the Lake Cicott post office on Wednesday afternoon on the way to his Monticello home.

He usually makes such a stop at least twice a month, saying the small post office is easier to get in and out of than the larger ones in Logansport and Monticello. He even knows the ladies behind the counter by name.

But the future of the Lake Cicott facility and nearly 100 other post offices across the state is uncertain.

The U.S. Postal Service on Tuesday released a list of about 3,600 offices nationally that will be reviewed as the agency looks to cut costs. In addition to the Lake Cicott location, the list included post offices in Cutler, Leiters Ford, Rockfield and Yeoman.

The postal service says the sites were selected because of the low volume of business they generate, and the study will assess whether they should be closed, a USPS spokeswoman said. The studies will take more than four months to complete, she said, noting that postal service revenue continues to fall.

“The postal service is a business,” said spokeswoman Mary Dando on why the low-volume offices are being studied. “We have to operate as a business.”

The postal service lost $8 billion last year as more customers shifted to online mail and as advertising mail dropped with the recession.

It operates nearly 32,000 retail outlets nationwide, and most of the offices that made the study list are in rural areas. Criteria for making the study list included average daily sales of less than $50 and low foot traffic, Dando said.

Completing an individual study takes a minimum of 138 days, and after its completion, it will be publicly posted, she said. A public hearing also will be scheduled to discuss its findings.

It would be only after all those steps that a location could be closed, Dando said. Even if those branches close, the services they offer might move to nearby stores, libraries or government offices, she said.

“We want our customers to know that if the post office has to be closed ... we want to make sure that potential options are available,” Dando said.

But losing the local post office would be a blow to the community and remove a convenient option, local residents said.

“I’d hate to see it close,” Graham said.

• The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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