NEW RUSSIA — The future of the New Russia post office is still in limbo.
The U.S. Postal Service had indicated that it might be closed last year, news that brought impassioned pleas to keep it open from residents at a meeting held in the Elizabethtown Town Hall with Dan Cronin, manager of post office operations for the area.
To resounding applause at that November meeting, Alden Harris, landlord of the building that houses the Post Office, volunteered to cut the annual rent to $1 and to cover the utility costs out of his own pocket.
The support at the meeting and a letter-writing campaign to postal and elected officials saw the facility spared, at least temporarily.
The dark financial picture of the Postal Service has driven the decision to close some post offices. There has been a decline in business in recent years, since stamps can be ordered online and email and texting have replaced much interchange that once was done by mail.
"People used to be good for a lot of mail — paying their bills and sending birthday cards,” said Margaret McCoy, who retired as postmaster in New Russia this week.
"Now, they do a lot of this online."
But a rural post office is more than a place to mail packages and pick up letters, she emphasized.
"People come here to converse, as well as get their mail,” she said. "It’s where people meet for the first time.
"If you don’t have this place (in the hamlet), there is no other public building, and you don’t get a chance to meet and find out about your neighbors or other local news."