Community meeting set to discuss planned closure of Vandiver Post Office
By CASSANDRA MICKENS/Associate Editor
VANDIVER — Vandiver residents will meet with U.S. Postal Service officials about the planned closure of the Vandiver Post Office June 5 at 6 p.m. at the Vandiver-Sterrett Senior Center, 12205 Shelby County 43.
Among those in attendance will be longtime Vandiver resident Marion Watson, who has fought keep to his town’s post office open for nearly four decades. According to Watson, Vandiver was to lose its post office in 1976. The town hired an attorney, fought the closing in federal court in Birmingham, and was granted an injunction to keep the post office open.
Talk of closing the post office has been on and off since that time, Watson said. In 2012, the U.S. Postal Service announced plans to close rural post offices, part of a plan to consolidate its network of 461 mail processing locations in phases, reduce its workforce by 13,000 employees and generate annual cost reductions of about $1.2 billion. The second and final phase of consolidations began in February.
“My wife retired from the postal service, and it’s been good to us, but it seems like they want to get rid of our office,” Watson said during a telephone interview May 27.
Though the Vandiver Post Office remains open six days a week, its services have been reduced, Watson said. Home delivery and post office box delivery have been moved to the Sterrett Post Office, about three miles down the road from Vandiver on Shelby County 25.
“We need a post office because we’ve got a lot of seniors,” Watson said. “A lot of people here do not have transportation to drive three miles, three-and-a-half miles to Sterrett. They walk to the post office or get their neighbors to carry them. It’s something that’s needed here in our community … We need help.”
Watson encourages other Vandiver residents to attend the community meeting and speak out against the planned closure.
“We believe that the community will really turn out, probably in anger, because the community wants to have a post office,” Watson said.
The Vandiver Post Office serves about 1,100 residents.