On Thursday, April 11th, I was proud to stand with local residents, other elected officials, and Chuck Zlatkin of the New York Metro Area Postal Workers Union at the United States Postal Service’s (USPS) public forum on its proposed closure and sale of Old Chelsea Station. At the meeting, which was sponsored by Community Board 4, I reiterated to Joseph Mulvey, USPS’s Real Estate Specialist, what I and my colleagues in government have been saying since we first learned of the proposed sale: that selling the facility and leasing new space elsewhere in the neighborhood simply does not make sense. Given Chelsea’s booming commercial real estate market, leasing the excess space at the post office could generate significant long-term income for USPS and help relieve the agency’s financial pressures. Moreover, Old Chelsea Station serves a growing residential and commercial community that includes many elderly and disabled residents and small business owners who rely upon traditional postal services.
The public comment period for the proposed relocation ended on April 26th, allowing community members just 15 days following the April 11th presentation to submit comment on USPS’s plan. Despite this outrageous attempt to stifle public input, I was pleased to have heard from a number of my constituents that they submitted comments to USPS, conveying their disapproval of the sale.
According to the law governing USPS’s proposed relocation, in the coming weeks we can anticipate a decision from USPS, which is meant to take into account community input. Notification of the decision will be sent to elected officials and posted in Old Chelsea Station, and I assure you that and my colleagues in government and I are poised to ensure that CB4 and the public get prompt notice of the determination.
If USPS decides to ignore the immense public objection and to proceed with its plans, it must allow 30 days, at minimum, for interested community members to appeal the decision. Should that be the case, I will continue to fight alongside my colleagues, CB4, and all concerned stakeholders to save our postal facility, the services it provides, and the historic building that houses it.