Post office subsidy too much to ask of Battlement Mesa Co.
Parachute and Battlement Mesa may appear close to motorists driving by on Interstate 70, but distances can be deceiving.
Concern by Battlement Mesa residents over the upcoming closure of their post office is a reminder of how big the divide between the two communities can seem to those living in them.
Battlement Mesa residents are upset over the Battlement Mesa Company’s decision to close the postal contract facility there, due to the company’s loss of nearly $50,000 a year operating it. Residents don’t like the idea of having to use the Parachute post office instead, and think the company should continue subsidizing Battlement’s facility, despite the cost involved.
Ideally, the Battlement post office would remain open, given the convenience it provides to Battlement Mesa’s largely senior population. Anything that forces more vehicle trips goes against the tenets of proper town planning.
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But Battlement Mesa Co.’s decision is a business decision, and an understandable one at that, given the amount of money involved. It’s nice that it supported the Battlement post office for so long, but it has no moral obligation to continue doing so when it so drains the company’s fiscal coffers.
On top of that, the Parachute facility is more than capable of absorbing the extra business. It was built to accommodate the oil shale boom of the early 1980s, leaving it with a lot of excess capacity when the boom went bust. Most of its 1,266 post office boxes now sit empty, so it has plenty of room for the 200 or so P.O. box customers in Battlement Mesa.
The Parachute post office also already provides home delivery in Battlement Mesa. And it intends to let Battlement Mesa customers keep both their box numbers and ZIP codes if they make the move to Parachute.
Who knows? A time may come when the Battlement Mesa Co. decides it has lost an important selling point in closing its post office, and reopening it would be a worthwhile investment. But perhaps also, as Battlement residents get used to going to their new post office location, they’ll come to discover that Parachute wasn’t quite so far away as it once seemed.
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