Construction is being completed on the Lansing Post Office, and USPS officials say they are optimistic that the branch will reopen soon. A Jeep Grand Cherokee smashed through the glass storefront December 23rd, causing damage in the front of the glass fronted store, including the customer counter area. The branch has been closed since that time, forcing Lansing box customers to get their mail at the main Post Office on Warren Road. USPS spokeswoman Karen Mazurkiewicz says the branch could reopen as soon as a week or two.
"The Ithaca Postmaster said the construction is coming along great," she says. "He doesn't have an actual date that it will be ready, but he does believe it will be in the next week or two. Once the owner gives the OK, he has to approve the construction as safe. We can get in there in a day or two. So we're just waiting for the final OK that it's safe, and then within a day or two we'll be back up and running."
The configuration will remain he same with one minor change. The receptacle where mail is deposited has been moved to another area of the lobby so that it does not impeded egress into and out of the retail area.
But a structural change may mean a big change for box customers. Although box renters pay the same as renters at any post office, Lansing customers have only been allowed access to their PO boxes during counter hours, about four hours a day. This was because the walls separating the box lobby and counter area were not deemed sufficiently secure. But USPS officials say that since construction is being done to repair the damage, walls are being shored up to meet postal security standards. Mazurkiewicz says that doesn't necessarily mean that Lansing customers will get 24/7 access to their boxes, but postal officials are hopeful that they will be able to offer that access.
"It's my understanding that those modifications are being incorporated," she says. "However, before we can actually go to the 24 hour lobby, from our end we have to get the postal inspection involved to make sure that they believe that the inner postal area is secure from the outer postal area. Once the changes are done we have to go through that process to certify that it meets their requirement. So I'm not saying that's a done deal."
Mazurkiewicz says no official completion date has been reported by the owner, Village Green Real Estate, LLC.
"It looks like it's getting closer," she says. "Hopefully the customers won't be inconvenienced for much longer."