CHERAW – The Chamber of Commerce opened the first half of their Lunch and Learn, May 18 to the public to discuss concerns about the proposed closing of the downtown post office which according to reports is being planned by Postal Service officials wanting to consolidate operations and combine the retail and post office box operation with the carrier annex, located on Hwy. 9, approximately three miles from downtown.
Some concerns expressed in the meeting, attended by close to 50 individuals, included the loss of the historic structure, a negative impact on the economic development in the downtown area, and also concerns that some could have problems getting to a facility located outside of the downtown area.
Cheraw Mayor Scott Hunter spoke to post office supporters, stating that the downtown post office was worth fighting for, and that supporters would definitely have a fight ahead of them. The Town of Cheraw received a letter May 4 from the Postal Service, notifying the town and it’s officials, of their intention to consolidate operations and sell the property, stating “The Postal Service will then prepare the property for sale. Upon receipt of an acceptable offer, the main office retail and PO box operations will be relocated to the Cheraw carrier annex.”
Hunter informed the group that the letter did not mention a public review as it had the two previous times the location was threatened in 1996 and again in 2009.
Attempts to close the location in 1996 were halted when town officials and preservationists enlisted Congressman John Spratt to help save the building and another attempt in 2009 was halted by town officials and members of Cheraw, Inc. who solicited the help of Congressman Spratt and Senator Graham.
In the resolution drafted by members of Cheraw, Inc. in 2009 they stated that the closing of the post office would “in effect thrusting a dagger into the heart of the Cheraw community.”
Currently various supporters of the downtown post office location are contacting government officials to encourage them to help stop the process. According to Hunter, U.S. Congressman Mick Mulvaney has said he would support the effort.
There are people who are in support of the Postal Services plan to consolidate though, stating that the tax payers of Cheraw do not need to be paying for two locations, especially with the size of the town not being very big.
There are also those who want to preserve the history of the town, but are optimistic if the property is sold, someone would do something with the property that could preserve the historic integrity of the building. Currently rumors of individual purchase interest and prospect of a museum are floating around.
The downtown property currently used as the post office was built in 1933 and according to many is the second most historically significant structure in downtown area, that’s currently occupied and functioning.
“Preserving our downtown and downtown businesses is critical to our economic stability, said Kappie Griggs of Cheraw. “Moving the facility to a spot miles from town would deal a blow to our more economically challenged citizens.”