State Line post office may close

PAT FRIDGEN

For over 50 years the State Line Post Office and Earl's Market have stood side-by-side, a strip mall of sorts in the village of State Line. That partnership may end Jan. 31, 2012, and the small community may be without a post office at all.

Postmaster Deb Nicarry learned months ago, and the residents just last week, that the United States Postal Service and its landlord had not come to terms on a rental agreement. Joe Lesko, owner of the grocery store, also owns the building housing the post office, which keeps boxes for 360 addresses.

Lesko confirmed the impasse. "It's unfortunate. I hate to lose the income, but we couldn't come to a reasonable conclusion to benefit both sides." He worked with a leasing agency acting on behalf of USPS.

Nicarry had been hoping for updates from her Harrisburg boss, but information was slow in coming. She finally was notified that if the post office did not find another building to rent within the boundaries of State Line, it would close permanently.

The USPS has been operating at a deficit, in the red $3.1 billion in the third quarter of 2011. Mail volume is down as people use the Internet to receive and pay bills. The price of a first class stamp will go up from 44 cents to 45 cents in January.  Some 3,000 post offices across the country may be closed.

State Line was not one of them.

"It wasn't necessary for all this to happen," said Nicarry. "We were not on the original list of closures. We weren't even considered because we're busy."

Lesko has had some feedback from customers. "They don't understand."

He realized if the post office goes, it could affect traffic into Earl's. "It's hard to say, hard to weigh that. Yes, it concerns me."