Fernandina Beach post office to close

By Erica Rakow, General assignment reporter, erakow@wjxt.com
Published On: Aug 09 2013 05:15:08 AM EDT
Updated On: Aug 09 2013 09:08:13 AM EDT
Fernandina Beach Post Office
PONTE VEDRA BEACH, Fla. -

People who live in Fernandina Beach are begging the United States Postal Service not to shut down their downtown post office.

In a time where people frequent post offices much less, since email and text messaging is around, some people in Fernandina Beach said the building is more than just a post office, they said it holds so much history and means so much to them.

It was scheduled to close for good Saturday, due to postal service budget cuts, but so many people have appealed it, the closing date has been delayed.

“Some things need to be changed but some things don’t,” said Fernandina Beach Commissioner, Ed Boner.

This 101-year-old building has been a landmark for people in Fernandina Beach and if it closes, the historical building in the heart of downtown Fernandina Beach, will be empty.

Built in 1912, the post office is the only thing left in this big, three story building in historic downtown.

It used to also be home to the U.S. Customs House and Courthouse. There’s still a courtroom on the second floor.

“I remember I must’ve been four or five-years-old and I can remember climbing up and down the railing on this side and all the locals would stop and you couldn’t leave, you were there 20 minutes talking to people sometimes,” said Boner.

Ed Boner has inherited one of the building’s mailboxes, that’s been in his family for more than 40 years. Locals said the post office is a special place. The postmaster deb is a friend to everyone.

“Coming here for 14 years… that personal you know kind of sad because its personal but it’s the end of another really comfortable era for us and I’m sure I speak for a lot of the business owners,” said business owner, Dave Francis.

Kirby Hobby is another business owner who looks forward to a break in his daily routine to go downtown, walk around and grab his mail. He’s been doing that routine since 1989 and said the change will cost him.

“I even asked them to give me a $500 reimbursement check to change all my invoicing and my business cards and so on and they kinda gave me a letter of return stating they couldn’t do that,” said Hobby.

Hundreds of neighbors have filed appeals with the USPS to keep this place open, and while the future of it remains uncertain, so does the future of the historic building.

“If that all leaves the economic impact downtown that locals have all left and it becomes more and more based on tourism and seasonal traffic so you don’t really want all these things to leave. You don’t want the things to leave that bring people here that actually live here,” said one of the Fernandina Beach residents.

The USPS posted a notice July 9th, saying they were closing the downtown post office on August 10th.

Services would be moved to a new post office on Sadler Road, three miles away.

Since they got so many appeals, it won’t be closing Saturday, the USPS said it will re-consider for up to 120 days so they could announce at any time whether it will or won’t be closing.

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