U.S. Rep. Raúl Grijalva wants the U.S. Postal Service to acknowledge that back-scaling operations (and ultimately closing) at the Cherrybell mail center has had a terrible effect on the Tucson community.
Grijalva led members of the Arizona congressional delegation in sending a bipartisan letter
to Postmaster General Megan J. Brennan, asking her to respond to the recent results of a survey by city residents and businesses
, where of 1,700 of people who took it, more than 80 percent of people reported noticeable delay in their mail delivery services (including senior citizens saying they weren't getting their medicine delivered on time) since phase 1 of the consolidation began, a press release from Grijalva's office says.
The Postal Service announced the consolidation plans in 2011 as an effort to reduce costs for the agency. Some of those changes rolled out in January. The problem is, it resulted in the delay of first-class mail, among other issues. Either way, since 2013, rather than processing mail at Cherrybell, the Postal Service has shipped all outgoing Tucson mail to Phoenix prior to distribution, even if the mail has a Tucson address.
The second phase of the consolidation, which was originally planned for 2015 but has now been delayed until next year, will reduce functions at Cherrybell to limited retail operations and little-to-no mail processing, the city says.
U.S. Rep. Martha McSally and Grijalva, as well as other local political and business voices, have pushed to keep Cherrybell running, as well. If the Cherrybell plans proceed, an approximate 250 jobs would be lost and overnight delivery to Tucson would end.
"While USPS's decision to delay the closure of Cherrybell until next year was welcome news in May, it only postponed a terrible outcome; it did not stop it," Grijalva says in a statement. "This survey makes clear in no uncertain terms that this consolidation is harmful to our residents, our businesses, and even poses health risks as medication deliveries are delayed. It's time that the residents of Tucson and the surrounding communities—the very people impacted by this closure—have their voices heard. It's time to stop this shutdown, once and for all."