Fate of Safety Harbor Post Office up in the air

The Safety Harbor Post office, located at 303 Main Street, is searching for a new location due the impending expiration of its current lease.

The Safety Harbor Post office, located at 303 Main Street, is searching for a new location due the impending expiration of its current lease.

For nearly 130 years Safety Harbor has had a post office, dating back to when the community was known as Green Springs, prior to the city’s incorporation in 1917.

But due to an expiring lease at the office’s current location at 303 Main Street, that longstanding occupancy could be coming to an end, and sooner rather than later.

Representatives for the United States Postal Service sent a notice to Mayor Andy Steingold in October 2016 stating, in part, the Safety Harbor post office “is considering relocating the current retail services being provided at 303 Main St…to a yet-to-be-determined location as close as reasonably possible to the existing location.”

With rumors swirling that the PO could move to Oldsmar if a suitable location in town is not found, postal officials have scheduled a public meeting for Wednesday, March 15, at 4:30 p.m. at the site to discuss the relocation and solicit feedback.

A copy of the letter a USPS official sent to Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold in September 2016.

A copy of the letter sent to Safety Harbor Mayor Andy Steingold in October 2016.

According to one Safety Harbor Post Office official, the plan is to remain in town—for now.

“We’re going to stay in Safety Harbor, we just have to find the right location,” the official, who wished to remain anonymous because he was not authorized to comment on the subject, said.

“But any time a post office moves, there has to be a public meeting. That’s why we’re holding the meeting on the 15th, to get feedback from residents and officials and to hopefully find a suitable location.”

The official noted that the relocation effort has been in the works for quite some time, although it is just now getting more attention, possibly due to the accelerated timeframe.

“(The move) was originally scheduled for late 2018, but that has been moved up,” he said. “It’s been known for a while now that this was happening, but it seems there’s been more talk about it in the last couple of weeks.”

Indeed, as word of the impending closure has begun to spread throughout town, residents are expressing their thoughts on the fate of the Safety Harbor post office.

Safety Harbor has had a post office since 1890, nearly 30 years prior to the city's incorporation in 1917.

Safety Harbor has had a post office since 1890, nearly 30 years prior to the city’s incorporation in 1917.

“I’ve heard two rumors—one that it’s moving to Oldsmar, and two that’s it’s going in the bank building next to Applebee’s on McMullen Booth (Road),” Mike Hornbuckle said as he sat outside the branch on Monday morning.

Hornbuckle said the face of Main Street would certainly change if the post office were to move, but he added the priority should be keeping postal service in town.

“It’s up to a private developer to come up with the space, but city officials need to be as proactive as possible in order to ensure the post office remains in town,” he said.

Another postal customer, who asked to remain nameless, said he was sorry to learn the current post office would be closing.

“This little building here is part of the fabric of our community,” the elderly gentleman said.

“It’s going to be sad to see it go.”

3/7 UPDATE: According to a USPS spokesperson, the current landlord plans to redevelop the site and the Postal Service is not part of the new development. The current lease will expire March 31, 2019.  The Postal Service will not be closing the Post Office.  Operations will continue at the current facility until they locate a new site.

Harborites, how do you feel about the Safety Harbor Post Office situation? Let us know in the comments below.

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