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Postal Service keeps Queens center open

The U.S. Postal Service announced the Processing and Distribution Center in College Point will remain open.
TimesLedger Newspapers

Queens elected officials welcomed the U.S. Postal Service’s decision last week to keep the Processing and Distribution Center in College Point open in a move that saved more than 700 jobs in the borough.

U.S. Rep. Joe Crowley (D-Jackson Heights), whose district covers the center, applauded the reversal of the plan to shutter the facility.

“I am so glad the Queens Processing and Distribution Center will remain open and will continue to serve the Queens community,” Crowley said. “Closing this facility would have severely impacted businesses and residents in the community that rely on the center day in and day out. It also would have stripped away hundreds of jobs from Queens at a time when we need every job we can get.”

Postal officials recently placed the center on the list of endangered facilities scheduled to close due to budget cuts, but a coalition of elected officials, customers, civic groups, Community Board 7 and unions united for a vigorous campaign to keep the center open and processing mail.

“The decision to take the Processing and Distribution Center off the chopping block is great news for the residents of Queens and the many businesses that depend on the critical services provided by this facility,” said U.S. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-Bayside) after the announcement May 18. “The plan to move the center’s responsibilities to the Brooklyn distribution location was a horrible idea that would have reduced the borough’s accessibility to a critical facility that hundreds of thousands of people rely upon.

Ackerman wrote a letter to the Postal Service’s triboro district manager, Frank Calabrese, in December, urging the agency not to eliminate mail operations at the College Point facility, at 140-02 20th Ave. Besides the loss of jobs, the congressman said closing the facility and moving operations to Brooklyn would have dramatically slowed the delivery process for Queens residents.

“Businesses and organizations that send bulk mail would be particularly impacted as collection times would be earlier, while drop off times would be later,” Ackerman said in the letter. “Mail would also likely be sorted more slowly and large mailings would no longer have a reliable drop-off location in the same geographic area they are being sent.”

The Postal Service had initially decided to close the processing facility in February after a five-month study into consolidating processing centers around the country.

Out of 264 facilities studied, the USPS determined 223 of them could be consolidated as part of a plan to help the ailing mail carrier save $20 billion by 2015.

State Sen. Toby Stavisky (D-Flushing) said the College Point facility is ranked No. 2 in productivity in the Northeast and it is the only one in the area capable of handling Queens’ mail volume.

“If the USPS runs into financial troubles in the future, before closing needed facilities they should consider revenue-generating ideas,” said Stavisky. “I have proposed ads on mail boxes, a photocopy service in post offices, custom wrapping, notary public services and even zoned pricing based on distance. Any of these would raise funds that could be used to keep facilities open.”

The postal service could not be reached for comment.

“I thank Postal officials for finally coming to their senses and for realizing how adversely impacted Queens would have been if this facility was closed.” Ackerman said.

Reach reporter Steve Mosco by e-mail at smosco@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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