Panhandle post offices spared

Panhandle post offices spared

NewsChannel 10

Sanford, Texas - There is new hope for rural post offices in the Texas panhandle facing closure.

Just months ago, it looked like 13 small-town post offices in our area would be shutting their doors.

Now those locations may be spared, thanks to a new strategy that would reduce window hours, but keep the building, the services, and the town's zip code intact.

It was a disaster in the making for small communities like Sanford, where the post office is their lifeline.

Resident and business owner Clifford Hughes explains, "It's the center of our community. We don't have much else out here."

Which made the threat of it closing down, that much more devastating.

Resident and business owner Chuck Clarke says, "What would I do without it? It would be a minimum 20 mile drive if I had to go to another post office to mail these packages that I mail on a daily basis."

But things are looking up for the sleepy town of Sanford.

The U.S. Postal Service no longer wants to shut them down, but cutback their retail window hours instead, leaving this post office open 4 hours a day.

Clarke says, "That's fine with me, as long as I've got a post office."

And it's leaving the people in Sanford with a sigh of relief.

Hughes says, "I really thought since we are so rural out here, we would be the first on the chopping block. It's excellent news for me."

It's also excellent news for Chuck Clarke, who's been the post office's next door neighbor for almost four decades.

He says, "This post office has known me for 36 years. I've known every postmaster we've ever had."

He now looks forward to making the daily walk to his "neighbor's house" for years to come.

Under the new proposal, 36 post offices in the Texas panhandle face reduced hours.

The U.S. Postal Service says the majority of their costs come from labor, so cutting back hours at a greater number of offices rather than closing them, would save them half a billion dollars.