The downtown Albany Post Office at the corner of Broad Avenue and Jefferson Street will remain open another five years. (Staff photo: Brad McEwen)
ALBANY — After considerable public outcry over the past few years over its proposed closure, the downtown Albany Post Office will remain open for at least an additional five years.
Albany and Dougherty County officials announced at a joint news conference Wednesday that the Postal Service has agreed to a new five year lease with property owner Lone Star Equities, Inc. that will keep the post office, located at Broad Avenue and Jefferson Street open until 2019.
“This historic building, which is a major part of the fiber of Albany and Dougherty County, will remain open for the next five years,” said Dougherty County Commission Chairman Jeff “Bodine” Sinyard. “It’s a very, very exciting day for Albany and Dougherty County.”
It was announced two years ago that the postal service would not renew a lease in the building located at 345 W. Broad Ave. and would eventually be closing after being in service for 100 years.
That news was immediately met with concern from citizens who utilized the facility and from community leaders, who felt not having the post office, which was built as a post office in 1912, would be a detriment to the downtown area.
At Wednesday’s news conference, Albany Mayor Dorothy Hubbard shared her pleasure that the historic post office would remain open and also shared that local leaders, along with federal representatives, had been working behind the scenes to save the post office since that official announcement.
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Hubbard specifically thanked U.S. Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-Albany), for arranging discussions with postal service leaders that led to the new lease agreement.
“We want this community to know that we worked really hard and we’re proud now to have a five year contract,” Hubbard said. “I want to personally, on behalf of Albany and Dougherty County, thank Rep. Sanford Bishop for the work he’s done. He took the lead. I can tell you all that this community should be so proud of him when he demanded that we have a meeting.”
Sinyard, who was part of the delegation of leaders that worked to keep the post office open, also commended Bishop, along with Georgia’s U.S. Sens. Saxby Chambless and Johnny Isakson, for their efforts.
“In the trips to Washington where we have been together numerous times and had numerous meetings it has been wonderful to have an entire team effort of both local leaders as well as our congressional delegation,” said Sinyard. “Senators Chambless and Isakson, led by Congressman Bishop, have helped us in an enormous way, brought the right people to the table. (This) is a testimony to a lot of people that believe in this community and also believe in the system. The system
worked in this case and it worked because a lot of people believed in what we were doing.”
Lone Star Equities Inc. Property Manager Frances Krack said the decision is good for downtown Albany.
“It’s exciting that we have had the people standing behind us and all of the folks being there when we needed them and the letters and all of the officials that worked on this,” said Krack. “I want to say a special thanks to the mayor and Jeff. Basically I just feel the joy that everybody has gotten that we are going to be able to serve the downtown.”
Johnny “Rabbitman” Williams, who, along with his father before him, has run a shoeshine station inside the post office lobby for 50 years, also attended the news conference and said he was thrilled the location would remain open.
“I’m glad we’ve been able to get them to reconsider,” said Williams. “I’m glad the people in this community got together.”
The new lease will take effect in September and will run until 2019. The location will remain a full service post office and customers will again be able to rent post office boxes at the location, something both Hubbard and Sinyard encouraged.
“Please, if you closed your box, come reopen it, it’s worth the time,” said Sinyard. “Just having the experience of walking into that incredibly historic post office is worth the time you will spend.
Downtown Albany Post Office
Officials announced Wednesday that the downtown Albany post office will remain open an additional five years thanks to new lease agreement.