SPANISH FORT – City officials are working to restore the post office in Spanish Fort after the facility that has been in operation for 60 years closed Friday, Jan. 15.
Officials with the U.S. Postal Service announced in 2020 that the private vendor contract to operate the Spanish Fort Post Office would expire on Jan. 15. Bids on a new contract closed on Dec. 7, but no new contract has been approved. The facility is a contract post office, which is a partnership with a private vendor to provide services to a community.
Spanish Fort postal patrons will now have to go to the Daphne Post Office on Daphne Avenue.
Spanish Fort Mayor Mike McMillan said he was disappointed in the decision to close the post office.
“The city of Spanish Fort is a growing community, and the Spanish Fort Post Office is financially viable,” he said. “There is no justifiable reason to close the Spanish Fort Post Office and deprive the citizens of the city of Spanish Fort and the surrounding community of postal services that the United States government deems essential to the orderly development and operation of this country.”
McMillan said the Spanish Fort Post Office has been in operation for about 60 years. Residents and businesses with post office boxes in the facility will have to rent boxes in Daphne. At previous City Council meetings, postal patrons said this will require changing letterheads and contact information.
The city of Spanish Fort has rented a post office box in the Spanish Fort Post Office and will have to change its own mailing address to Daphne, officials said.
McMillan said that since the closing was announced, city officials have been working with area’s representatives in the U.S. Congress, including Sen, Richard Shelby, Sen. Tommy Tuberville and Rep. Jerry Carl, as well as former Sen. Doug Jones and former Rep. Bradley Byrne, to maintain the facility in Spanish Fort.
Carl, who took office earlier this month, also said he was frustrated that the post office had closed.
“I am very disappointed with the USPS for closing the Spanish Fort Post Office,” Carl said in a statement. “One of the first actions I took after being sworn into Congress earlier this month was seeking out a solution to keep the 700 P.O. boxes in Spanish Fort, but the USPS was unable to take proper action. This is unacceptable. Spanish Fort is one of Alabama’s fastest growing cities, and the elimination of these P.O. boxes is a significant inconvenience for the city’s residents and hampers business growth. I remain committed to doing all I can to find a viable solution to this issue.”
Spanish Fort appealed the decision to close the post office with the federal Postal Regulatory Commission. McMillan said the US Postal Service told city officials that the commission does not have jurisdiction over contract post offices.
“While we were informed that every effort was being made to keep the Spanish Fort Post Office open and keep the post office boxes in Spanish Fort, it appears, according to information provided by our elected officials, that we may have been misled,” McMillan said. “Based on the information we received, it appears that the Postal Service had no intention of keeping the post office boxes in Spanish Fort.”
He said the city is asking the Postal Regulatory Commission to review the closing and statement that contract post offices can be shut down without the appeal process. He said the city will continue to work to reopen the post office.
“The actions of the Postal Service will have a detrimental effect on the city of Spanish Fort and the surrounding community,” McMillan said. “We are going to keep pressing this issue, and I am hopeful that the Postal Regulatory Commission will take a serious look at the actions of the Postal Service. If this is how the Postal Service is allowed operate, it is time for some serious changes. We will continue to engage with our elected officials to address this matter. matter. We, as United States citizens and customers of the United States Postal Service, deserve better than this.”