West End station seemingly dodges closure

       The West End post office is staying put… for now.

Old Colorado City's post office, called the West End station, faces onto 25th Street at Cucharras.
Westside Pioneer photo

       It had been among three in Colorado Springs being considered for closure by U.S. Postal Service officials, but they decided this week to target only the Antares station (at Uintah and Circle) at this time, according to area postal spokesperson Ron Perry.
       However, he cautioned, the West End station, which has been at 204 S. 25th St. since 1962, is “not off the list” and could be reconsidered at an unknown future date, especially if the economy does not improve. “It's in a secondary category, so to speak,” Perry said.
       With this in mind, Judy Kasten, an Old Colorado City business owner, said she plans to start a petition drive to retain the West End station. “I think we should proceed so we'll have our case ready if they [postal officials] change their mind again,” she said.
       She is confident of local support because the West End station is a “valuable asset” to Old Colorado City business people and residents, many of whom access it on foot, Kasten said.
       For now, at least, the closure decision lays to rest rumors that had been spreading through Old Colorado City that the West End station would definitely close, and that it would be as early as Oct. 1. “People have been getting bad information,” Perry said.
       Even if West End had been selected, there would have been a public process - as there will be with Antares - including surveys provided to box-holders and anyone doing business at the facility. And any local decision would need to be finalized in Washington, D.C. (probably with input from congressional offices), so the actual closure action would take more than just a few months, Perry elaborated.
       Should the Postal Service ever decide to close West End, it wouldn't necessarily mean the end of service in the Old Colorado City area, Perry said. The thinking is that economizing could result from relocating West End's retail function into the facility built for postal carriers south of Highway 24 at Robinson and 25th streets five years ago. “The idea is why have two buildings so close when you could have one,” Perry said. “If we had everything in one location, it would make things easier.”
       As part of a nationwide cost-cutting effort this year, the Postal Service's Colorado/ Wyoming District narrowed down a list of 16 stations or branches to be analyzed for a “discontinuance study,” according to a July 7 letter to postal workers from Char Ehrenshaft, labor relations manager for the district. At these locations, “we are considering consolidating or discontinuing operations due to declining mail volume and window transactions,” the letter continues.
       The third Colorado Springs station on the list - also no longer being considered for closure - is the North End station (north of downtown).
       “Our study will consider many factors including the impact on employees, service standards, cost savings, customer access, environmental impact, real estate values and the long-term needs of the service,” the Ehrenshaft letter additionally states.
       Perry did not have comparative statistics on these factors, but noted that one of West End's strongest points is that the Postal Service owns the land. At Antares, the space is being leased, with a termination date of 2013, he said.
       Otherwise, Antares actually does brisker business than West End, he noted.
       Another plus for West End is its continual service at the current site since 1962, he said.
       In fact, it can probably be said that Colorado City has had a post office somewhere in its midst going back to its earliest days, according to local historian Mel McFarland.
       “If we close Antares, it would be down the road before we look at anything else,” Perry said. “It's pretty safe to say, if the economy turns around, Antares would be the only one.”

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