Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Residents Pan Post Office Plan Support Cited for Downtown Blackshear Site

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Residents Pan Post Office Plan Support Cited for Downtown Blackshear Site

Article excerpt

BLACKSHEAR -- Residents and businesses opposed to moving the post office out of downtown tried to get a message to the U.S. Postal Service yesterday.

The message is that they want a new post office downtown near the existing one rather than moving to a new site west of downtown on busy U.S. 84. More than 100 people stood in support of that proposition at the Pierce County Courthouse Annex during a town hall meeting on the subject arranged by U.S. Rep. Jack Kingston, R-Ga.

The crowd composed mostly of retirees was roused most by Robert Williams, publisher of the hometown Blackshear Times, who shed his dress coat to reveal a white shirt he had shredded to show how the downtown economy would be tattered should the post office leave.

Williams asserted that Glen Ackerman, a Postal Service real estate specialist who attended the meeting, is not letting his supervisors know how strongly Blackshear feels about keeping its post office downtown.

"What good are we going to do dealing with you," Williams asked Ackerman, "when you're not letting the people above you know the feelings of Blackshear?"

Williams accused Ackerman and the Postal Service of downplaying or ignoring local opposition to its plans to relocate.

"Everybody knows how the people of Blackshear feel," everyone except the Postal Service, Williams said.

The Postal Service has a "cookie cutter, one-size-fits-all plan" for Blackshear that doesn't fit at all, Williams said.

Rick Fey, president of the Pierce County Chamber of Commerce, told Ackerman there had been an amazing show of support for keeping the post office downtown.

At least 1,300 people signed a petition in favor of keeping the facility downtown and only one out of every 100 of those approached refused to sign, Fey said.

"This post office is the cornerstone of what keeps our downtown alive," Fey said.

Others have asserted that residents, especially the elderly and disabled, would be placed in danger trying to negotiate the traffic on heavily traveled U.S. 84.

Ackerman said he understood the arguments, but none of the alternatives, including the donation of free land behind the current post office, would fit the agency's plans. …

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