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Cabot post office closure continues with no end in sight

White buildings sit on green grass on a sunny day.
Wikimedia Commons
The Cabot green.

Danae Moyer reported this story on assignment from the Hardwick Gazette. The Community News Service is a program in which University of Vermont students work with professional editors to provide content for local news outlets at no cost.

Information has trickled out slowly and sparsely to Cabot residents inconvenienced by the closure of the town post office.

The U.S. Postal Service mailed an announcement to local customers on March 6 describing a “suspension” of local operations “due to safety issues.” The letter had no explanation for the safety concerns and no timeline for reopening.

Cabot residents have since had to travel nearly five miles to Marshfield for mail services, including access to post office boxes and package pickup and drop-off, or farther to Plainfield.

“The post office closure has been especially hard on elderly, more homebound residents on a fixed income,” Cabot resident Cheryl Gilbert wrote to a Hardwick Gazette reporter in a direct message on Facebook. “They now have to find a way to Marshfield to pick up their mail instead of walking a few doors down. They paid their expensive box fee. Mail to rural boxes are free. The postal service should be delivering to village residents free instead of making them find rides, etc., to Marshfield.”

The Cabot post office closure comes amid a series of problems and customer frustrations with the federal postal service in Vermont. Staffing shortages have led to mail delivery delays or unserved routes in some areas across the state. The Vermont congressional delegation has criticized the postal service’s leadership in Washington. This month, the postal service announced it had scrapped a plan to move Vermont mail processing operations out of state to a central warehouse in Connecticut, partly in response to consumer complaints and political pressure.

Selectboard member R.D. Eno said the closure in Cabot resulted from “vermiculite shifting down from the ceiling.” Vermiculite, a mineral commonly used as insulation in construction, often is contaminated with asbestos. The landlord of the post office building, 3123 Main St., was expected to have contractors start asbestos mitigation in late April, Eno said.

Postal Realty Trust, a publicly traded real estate investment firm owns the Cabot building among more than 1,500 post office properties nationwide. Based in Cedarhurst, New York, the landlord’s representatives did not return messages seeking comment and additional information.

Editor's note (5/30/24): This story has been updated.

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