Dec. 10, 2003 – A new post office for St. John is on the front burner, said Glenn Jackson, who serves as postmaster in St. John.
"Soon, very soon, St. John will have a new modern post office," she said to the two dozen people gathered Wednesday at a St. John Business and Professional Women-sponsored forum at the Legislature building.
She did not have a date for work to begin or a location, but said that it may turn out that the U.S. Postal Service utilizes an existing building or swaps land with the U.S. Interior Department. The Interior Department oversees activities at the V.I. National Park.
Jackson said the post office will probably be in the Cruz Bay area and will have at least 20 parking spaces.
St. John's present post office is bursting at the seams. Packages are handled in an adjacent trailer, which occupies most of what used to be parking spaces. There are now only a couple of parking spaces at the post office, which are usually occupied by employees' vehicles. This forces patrons to scramble for hard-to-find parking spaces elsewhere in Cruz Bay.
The issue or relocating the post office first came up several years ago when the Postal Service held meetings on St. John to hear what residents had to say. Parking was one of the issues of concern.
Louis A. Jackson, who serves as the territorial postmaster and is Glenn Jackson's husband, said that despite the Postal Service's budget constraints, the new post office project will go forward.
"One of the issues was the sky-high price for square footage," Louis A. Jackson said.
Louis Jackson went on to report that the Postal Service is streamlining operations. "I'm looking at 5,000 hours cut from St. John," he said.
The Postal Service is changing the way it deals with the territory's mail by doing most of the sorting in Puerto Rico. However, mail from St. John to St. John will continue to be sorted in the St. John Post Office. There will be boxes in the St. Thomas post offices specifically for St. John mail. All other mail will go to Puerto Rico for sorting, but will be cancelled with the stamp that reflects the island on which it was mailed. Louis Jackson said this was important because tourists want to send post cards cancelled St. John.
Glenn Jackson said that studies show that the post office in fiscal year 2003 shipped 199,367 packages, up from 184,967 the previous year. She did not have figures for inbound packages.
In response to complaints about slow delivery of mail, Glenn Jackson said that staffing is a problem. The post office has eight full-time workers, called career employees in post office parlance, and one temporary worker. If an employee scheduled to open the post office calls in sick, the post office may not open on time.
Louis A. Jackson also urged residents to shred their documents that can be used in identity theft. He said there had been one such case in the territory. "And it was in St. John," he said.
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