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Hundreds rally to restore Montpelier post office months after losing it to floods

People stand in a group outside in winter coats. A sign reads "Santa never got my letter" in purple letters. Another person holds another sign to the right.
Burgess Brown
Vermont Public
Montpelier community members joined the Montpelier Commission for Recovery and Resilience, and Sen. Peter Welch and Rep. Becca Balint, at a rally to restore the state capital's post office on Monday, Jan. 8.

Several hundred people rallied in downtown Montpelier Monday afternoon demanding that the United States Postal Service reopen the city's post office, which has been closed since the historic floods in July.

The Federal Building in downtown Montpelier was heavily damaged by the floodwaters, and may never reopen.

State and city officials have urged the postal service to open a temporary facility, but these requests have gone unanswered.

More from Vermont Public: Gov. Scott says USPS isn't interested in plans for another temporary post office in Montpelier

"182 days later, you know who hasn't shown up? United States Postal Service leadership," says Ben Doyle, the chairman of Montpelier's Commission on Flood Recovery.

Montpelier does have home delivery service, but residents and businesses must travel to either East Montpelier or Barre for other basic postal needs.

A man in a hat speaks into a microphone outside, with a group of people standing behind him.
Burgess Brown
Vermont Public
Sen. Peter Welch speaks at a rally for the post office in Montpelier on Monday. Welch joined the other members of the Congressional delegation in signing a letter in November asking for the post office to be restored.

Kate Whelley McCabe is the CEO of the Vermont Evaporator Company, and she says the lack of a downtown post office has hurt many small businesses as they recover from the flood.

"We are not asking for a miracle here," Whelley McCabe says. "What we're asking for is to give us a working post office right here in town."

A large group of people stand outside of the Federal Building to watch speakers.
Burgess Brown
Vermont Public
Several hundred people gathered in Montpelier outside of the Federal Building, which used to hold the post office before being damaged by July floods. It may not reopen.

Montpelier resident Johanna Nichols said the situation has also been devastating for the city's older population.

"For older residents, having a post office accessible helps us to stay part of a world increasingly impersonal, technologically alien and unrecognizable," Nichols says.

In an email to Vermont Public, the U.S. Postal Service says it has identified several possible locations "in and around" Montpelier to relocate the post office, but they haven't established a timeline to do so.

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Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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