Cheraw’s citizens, mayor and town council have exemplified South Carolina’s motto, “As I breathe I have hope,” in the battle against the United States Postal Service (USPS) to keep the historic 1930 building in operation. This week, fresh hope has arisen in the knowledge that the decision, yea or neigh, will not come mid-March as expected but will again be placed “on hold.”
Since the mid ’90s, across the nation, the USPS has been reducing the role of small, historic post office buildings to mere real estate; up for sale. A prime example is in Bishopville, where the former U.S. Post Office is now a discount tobacco store.
Local citizens and politicians involved in keeping Cheraw’s post office alive have refused to give up the ship. They’ve called and written state and federal representatives. They have proposed practical solutions by thinking outside the box. And on more than one occasion, local representatives have actually been to Washington, D.C., to speak directly with South Carolina Senators Lindsay Graham and Vincent Sheheen; both have been supportive of Cheraw’s efforts to keep the post office in the heart of Cheraw’s historic business district. And so far, the downtown post office has remained open nearly a decade beyond the first mention of possible closings.
Two weeks ago, Cheraw Mayor Andy Ingram was told the fate of Cheraw’s post office would be determined by postal officials in Greensboro, N.C., by mid-March. But just last Thursday, a conference call with Ingram, Cheraw Town Administrator Mike Smith and the postal representatives of Greensboro, produced another thread of hope.
Ingram’s argument to prevent the postal service from closing the downtown building is based on “financial reasoning,” he said, coupled with the willingness of First Citizens Bank to sell or lease land adjacent to the post office property for the purpose of installing modular units. The modular units would be necessary for sorting mail if the Highway 9 facility is closed and put up for sale instead of the downtown property, said Ingram.
Ingram said the Greensboro representatives listened when he told them “they would end up spending a lot more money to bring the Highway 9 facility up to standards to accommodate public use than it would take to install modular units on the original property downtown.”
“They assured us they would give the modular idea due diligence,” said Ingram. “They also said they would put ‘on hold’ any decisions about Cheraw until they could explore the idea of modular units to the fullest extent.”
— Staff Writer Karen Kissiah can be reached by calling 843-537-5261, ext. 229, or by email at email@example.com.