By Allen Edmonds, The Democrat Missourian
The Raymore Chamber of Commerce has joined with Raymore Councilmember Charlene Hubach, a former city postmaster, in protesting a study that could ultimately downgrade the citys post office into a "retail-only" location.
Hubach broached the issue with councilmembers and her constituents in mid-January, when she said she learned a "Delivery Unit Optimization" study was being conducted for the Raymore Post Office.
If Raymores status as a "delivery unit" were removed, she said at the time, most functions of the post office would be transferred to Belton and the Raymore office would remain open only as a retail location.
She further detailed the situation during a Jan. 30 work session of the Raymore City Council, after the U.S. Postal Service served official notice that the study was being conducted.
On Feb. 1, the Raymore Chamber of Commerce joined the drive to keep the post office open, developing a two-page letter to the USPS, along with copies to congressional leaders, protesting the proposed move. The Chamber asked members and citizens in an email to copy the letter, sign it and mail to the Postal Service and their congressional representatives.
In the letter to members, the Chamber said that many have suggested "this would be the first step in closing our current postal facility. Once a facility is downsized, the chances that those services will return at a later date are slim to none."
In the letter to the postal service, the Chamber said a total of 11 regular carrier routes, one auxiliary carrier route and one contract carrier are on the block to be moved to the Belton Post Office.
"Postal officials are reviewing this as a money-saving move, a contention we dispute. We protest the possible loss of our carrier routes, and the loss of our community identity," the letter stated.
If cost savings were the issue, the letter said, "it makes no sense to split the Raymore Post Office and still spend the same amount of money on the building for just one or two employees."
The Chamber also pointed out that the four-mile trip from the Belton to Raymore facilities can take 20-30 minutes to travel, depending on traffic.
Historically, Missouris first Rural Free Delivery was started in Raymore, and the community has grown to cover 17.75 square miles. The population, according to the 2010 census, has increased to 19,206.
In addition, the letter said, the Raymore Post Office is supported to the tune of more than $1 million in stamp revenue each year.
"Does it make sense to reduce postal service to the fastest growing city in the county, and one of the fastest growing cities in the state of Missouri?" the letter asked.
"The idea that you would destroy this post office simply because you have unused space in the Belton Post Office is frankly, absurd! There are too many alternatives in business today that would greatly appreciate our shipping and mailing dollars, if you do not."
The Chamber asked residents to contact its office at 816-322-0599 with questions, or to obtain a copy of the letter and the addresses to mail it to.