CLEVELAND — Residents living in Cleveland's Buckeye, Shaker, and Woodland Hill neighborhoods expressed their frustrations and demanded answers as to why their post office at East 130 Street remains closed.
The United States Postal Service told News 5 the location was closed in November 2020 over safety and security concerns and remains shutdown for security upgrades.
Still, residents and Cleveland city leaders voiced their concerns during a May 11 news conference and wondered why the security improvements were taking so long to complete and why they can't get a reopening date for their post office.
Buckeye-Shaker community activist Rob Render told News 5 the ongoing shutdown has made it extremely hard for residents in multiple neighborhoods to get basic postal services like post office boxes, money orders, and stamps.
“This is beyond despicable, this is a post office that serves not just the Buckeye community, but its footprint is much larger, it expands over to Cleveland Heights, Ludlow, Larchmere, lower Buckeye, Woodland, and Shaker Heights," Render said.
“We ask the postal service when it will reopen and they come up with a blank, nada, you know some flimsy excuse, but no definitive answer about the status of this branch.”
“There’s a number of people who live below the poverty level, a number of people, I’m talking about vast numbers of people, who don’t have their own mode of transportation. To get a ride all the way out to Warrensville, the Beachwood branch, that’s ridiculous.”
Render said the ongoing shutdown at the post office has made it especially hard on residents like James Roebuck, who need to use a walker and can't drive.
“Some of the mail carriers said they’re going to open it back up, but we never got a definite date," Roebuck said.
“Most of them are people who have apartments and a lot of them don’t have cars. They could go ahead on and do the upgrades while it’s open and run it where it won’t be inconvenient for people.”
“They need it back open, bottom line.”
Ward 6 Cleveland Councilman Blaine Griffin said the ongoing mystery is also making it tough on Buckeye-Shaker business owners like Tamara Shappell, who owns Emerald Supply on Superior Avenue.
“The other location is 45-minutes from my office to go to the post office, to get our checks so that we can stay in business," Shappell said. "How inconvenient are we going to make this for our residents here.”
News 5 contacted Cleveland's main post office on Orange Avenue in the search for answers, it confirmed the location will reopen, but again, would not explain the delays or give us a date on when that will happen.
It respectfully declined an on-camera interview for the story, but issued the following statement:
"Operations at the Shaker Heights Finance Unit was temporarily suspended in November 2020 and we did notify the public through a press release that was shared to local media outlets and also published on our newsroom.
In the interest of safety and security for our employees and customers, USPS is installing additional security measures. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused and we will notify the community as soon as it is ready to reopen."
News 5 contacted Senator Sherrod Brown about the ongoing controversy and he also issued a statement on the issue:
“The postal service has faced many challenges over the past year, and my office and I have been working to advocate for new USPS leadership that understands how vital the post office and daily mail service are to communities in Cleveland and all over the country – communities of all sizes, in all regions.
I know that the postal branch on East 130th Street was important to local residence and small businesses, and I stand with the many customers in calling for a timely re-opening of that branch."
But Joy Johnson, with the Burton, Bell, Carr Development Corporation, believes her community deserves more answers and communication.
“If this post office were in other parts of the city or other parts of the county, we wouldn’t have this silence from the postal service," Johnson said.
“We pay the same tax rates, and the same rate for postage stamps as everyone else pays, the same rate for a P.O. box, so we should get the same amount of service.”
News 5 will continue to follow up on the developing story.