By Paula Katinas
Bay Ridge — Elected officials on both sides of the aisle expressed relief at the news that the U.S. Postal Service has decided to keep the Ovington Retail Station open.
The retail station, located at 6803 Fourth Ave., had been on a list of post office facilities being studied for closure by the U.S. Postal Service, which is drowning in red ink and looking for ways to cut millions of dollars from its budget.
On Feb. 13, U.S. Rep Jerrold Nadler, in whose congressional district the Ovington Retail Station is located, announced the happy news that the facility is staying put.
Another postal office in Nadler’s district, the Brighton Postal Station at 3157 Coney Island Ave., will also remain open, the congressman announced.
Nadler, who had urged the U.S. Postal Service to keep both stations open, praised the decision.
“I am extremely pleased that the local post offices in Brighton Beach and Bay Ridge will remain open after much uncertainty and speculation over the previous months,” said Nadler, a Democrat. “I commend the U.S Postal Service for recognizing the unique importance of these stations for these communities. Closures would have created major inconvenience for seniors, those with disabilities, and businesses that rely on local post offices and the services they provide.”
Republican-Conservative state Sen. Marty Golden called the reprieve for the two postal stations “great news.”
Golden, who organized a petition drive to save the Ovington Retail Station, said that while he understood the need for the U.S. Postal Service to cut costs, he also believed the agency should take the needs of customers into consideration.
“Throughout these most recent negotiations, I continued to stress how the postal needs of the community would not be adequately served if these mail stations closed. As the post office continues to look to reduce operating costs, they must always regard the needs of the customers who depend on them as a first priority,” he said.
Golden’s Republican-Conservative colleague, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, issued a statement praising the decision to keep the Bay Ridge facility open.
“Preserving the Ovington post office was of critical importance to our community, and I am relieved to see that its services will remain available to the people of Bay Ridge. This facility is heavily relied on by thousands in Bay Ridge, especially the senior population in our community, whose only other option would be the Fort Hamilton Post Office,” Malliotakis said.
Part of the argument Golden, Malliotakis and others made on behalf of the Ovington Retail Station was that residents in the northern end of Bay Ridge would have been forced to travel more than a mile to the nearest postal facility to mail packages or buy stamps. The Fort Hamilton Post Office, which serves the vast majority of Bay Ridge, is located at 8805 Fifth Ave.
The Bay Ridge Post Office is located at 5501 Seventh Ave.
“The preservation of Ovington is a clear example of the public making their voice heard and accomplishing their goal,” Malliotakis said.
Democratic Councilman Vincent Gentile said the Ovington Retail Station is a busy facility.
“Not only does the Ovington post office bring in nearly $1 million in annual revenue, it also serves over 500 customers every day,” he said. “Even in an age of e-mail, a lot of people still rely and use ‘regular mail’ - not to mention with the two closest post offices each nearly two miles away in opposite directions, it is essential that this location remained open as it serves a vital portion of our neighborhood.”