ARIPEKA, Fla. -- Residents in one Pasco County community are trying to save their post office.
- Aripeka post office may close next month
- USPS has not yet reached a deal with building owner
- Resident worry they won't be able to pick up mail
Folks in the town of Aripeka worry that if the post office closes, they won’t be able to pick up their mail.
Many of them say the post office has been one of the small coastal town’s few gathering places.
“We don’t mind driving a mile and a half to the post office," Aripeka resident Liane Osta said. "It’s a meeting place. It’s a social activity for a lot of people."
But it may be closing next month.
The building’s owner, Carl Norfleet, says the U.S. Postal Service has become a bad renter and is not holding up its end of the deal.
“I do not like the way I’ve been treated by the post office for the past three years,” Norfleet said.
Norfleet stepped in to buy the building to save post office back in 2013. Issues such as flooding and rent payments came between him and the USPS.
Now he doesn’t know if a new deal can be reached when the lease expires next month.
“I want the people of Aripeka to have a post office. But I don’t want to deal with the post office,” Norfleet said.
Many of the folks in town have their only mailbox at the post office because they don’t get rural delivery. If the branch were to close down, they’d be forced to drive nearly 15 miles round-trip to the post office in Hudson.
“We have many people that only have wheelchairs. No cars. Or just bicycles,” Osta said.
Residents hope a deal can be made. If not, they’re not sure how they will get their mail.
“If they can’t get it opened, we are going to insist on some other delivery to Aripeka,” resident Jim Smith said.
USPS has been telling residents it hopes a deal between the two parties can be reached.