Today’s news:

Van Nest post office still on closure list

The United States Postal Service has again slashed its list of branches and stations slated for “consolidation,” but the Van Nest Station is still in trouble.

In December, the USPS announced an updated list of fewer than 170 branches and stations it plans to shut. But three Bronx stations, Oak Point, Crotona Park and Van Nest, remain. The list originally included more than 3,000 branches and stations nationwide. Only 11 New York State stations are still in danger; six of those are in New York City.

“The seniors that live in Van Nest and lower Morris Park are going to be negatively affected,” Community Board 11 district manager John Fratta said. “The USPS is creating undue hardship. The fact that three out of six [stations] slated to be closed [in the city] are in the Bronx shows once again that the USPS is really dumping on the Bronx.”

Senator Jeff Klein, supported by the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance and the Morris Park Alliance, will continue the fight to keep the branch open. In September, Klein testified in front of the Postal Regulatory Commission. The senator explained how Van Nest residents depend on the postal station. Klein has since written several letters to the USPS.

"While I was proud to represent the Van Nest community by testifying in front of a federal panel, I was disappointed to learn that despite the list being shortened, the Van Nest Post Office is still on the chopping block,” Klein said. “I will continue to work with the community in trying to save this location and do my best in convincing the federal government how important this post office is to the community and the people it serves.”

According to Bernadette Ferrara, vice president of the Van Nest Neighborhood Alliance, the group plans to begin another petition drive demanding the post station remain open. The Van Nest Alliance has also attempted to reach out to Congressman Joseph Crowley.

“Here we are trying to revitalize the neighborhood and they’re taking away services from us,” Ferrara said. “It’s like taking one step forward and ten steps back.”

Residents were worried on Monday, January 4 when the Van Nest postal station failed to open but the USPS blamed a staffing emergency rather than the consolidation plans.

Bronx Postmaster Aracelis Osorio apologized for the temporary closure and assured residents that the station would reopen on Tuesday, December 5. The USPS reported a loss of $3.8 billion at the end of its 2009 fiscal year. No final decisions have been made and the Van Nest branch will continue to operate as normal for now.

According to a spokesperson for the USPS, the public will be notified as soon as a final decision has been made.

Reach reporter Amanda Marinaccio at 718 742-3394 or amarinaccio@cnglocal.com

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