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Bellingham Post Office to Absorb Medway Due to Closing

By J.D. O’Gara

Medway’s full-time Post Office, located on Main Street, in August, announced to the town’s Post Office Box owners that it was suspending business, effective September first, with carriers heading to the Bellingham Post Office and residents instructed to pick up their packages there.

The Town of Medway was pretty shocked.

“I got a call from a resident who said the post office is closing at the end of the month,” said Michael Boynton, Medway Town Manager, in mid-August, adding, “The situation is frustrating, and some of it doesn’t even make sense.”

Boynton explained the town has been entertaining concept ideas with the landowners, The Meehan Group, for “the better part of two years. Included in these discussions have been the primary uses that are there, including a gas station and food as well as a car wash and the Post Office. We’d been having very good conversations and deemed them very responsive to the Town.” 

Boynton is puzzled as to the quick closure of the Medway Main Street location.

“There does not seem to be any basis for Post Office to be moving in any haste to vacate that site,” said Boynton. “Is this the beginning of the Post Office cost-cutting? If you’re serious about not having a serious impact on the Town, why is the Village Street Post Office not increasing their hours, and what do you propose to do about handicap accessibility? They’re shipping their carriers to Bellingham, and that, again, begs the question, why? There’s no obligation for them to talk to the Town; we have no control over this whatsoever, but itwould be nice. There was zero communication. Our expectation was they had no reason to leave – they were going to be phased into a location at their site. The developer had been very transparent with anything they’ve presented to us.”

USPS says it’s closing the Medway Main Street post office because “Our current lease on this property expires August 31 and is not being offered for renewal,” according to Steve Doherty, Strategic Communications Specialist for USPS. He added,” The Bellingham Post Office has adequate capacity to absorb the mail volume from Medway,” “no employee layoffs are planned as a result of this move,” and that the USPS “Delivering For America plan, which is currently underway … does not include any plans to close Post Offices.”

The Meehan Group, adamantly denies evicting the Post Office.

“Those allegations are absolutely erroneous, causing substantial harm to the potential developer,” said Tariq “Ty” Fayyad, Development and Acquisitions Manager for The Meehan Group, which has yet to submit its final development plan for the parcel.

“Over these two years, there has not been one plan that did not account for the Post Office. Every single plan had the Post Office location somewhere, and further, all those plans were developed in a way that this development would go forward in a phased sense,” said Fayyad, “They’re great tenants, we want to keep them,” said Fayyad, who added, “We reached out to JLL (the brokerage firm for USPS), saying we were ready to extend the lease to the desired two-year extension. However, we wanted a clause within the lease that simply allowed us to relocate them if the development was ready,” said Fayyad. The email, copied to Medway Postmaster Afonso (and shared with Local Town Pages), also requested the Post Office initiate its RFP Process for relocation upon signing, whether their intention was to stay at the Main Street location or move.

“JLL then reached out to us via email saying they’re not willing to negotiate the 2-year extension,” says Fayyad, “Then, we reached back out saying we’re willing to let them stay there as Tenants-at-Will, and they didn’t respond back after that.”

Fayyad, previously told by a separate JLL email (which he shared with Local Town Pages) that USPS had to go through a specific, lengthy legal process to move, and that, even if evicted, could legally stay for up to two years, expresses frustration at the sudden move to Bellingham. “JLL’s desire to relocate is regrettable,” says Fayyad, “We tried to keep (USPS) as tenants, but if they want to leave, we can’t force them to stay.”

The abruptness of the closure and lack of town notification concerns Keith Richard, President of the Central Massachusetts-Area Local American Postal Workers Union. 

“I have 3-4 employees I represent in that office, and I see it as I represent the people of Medway, too. If I put myself in their shoes, I would hate what is going on right now at the Medway Post Office,” said Richard. 

The union rep maintained that, under Title 39 of the Federal Code of Regulations, section 241.3, that USPS is mandated to “give two-months’ notice to every single citizen of that town of a discontinued post office, and they’re supposed to send out questionnaires and flyers to all of them for their general input. Also, they haven’t conducted a feasibility study and have held no town meetings to keep everyone informed as they should,” said Richard, “I know if I lived in Medway, I wouldn’t want to be forced to go to Bellingham to pick up a package, express mail, certified letter or, (held) mail from vacation.”

At press time, only the Medway P.O. Box owners had been notified in a letter saying that “the Medway Post Office will be suspended at the close of business on Thursday, August 31st, 2023.” Roughly 250 mailboxes will be moved to the Medway Village Post Office. 

Medway Village, says Richard, “is not a feasible location to move a 4,000 square-foot facility. With the increased traffic … and to add over 200 more P.O. Box customers to that location with no handicapped access and only two parking spots, not to mention how small the lobby is and lack of room for people to wait inside to conduct business and process passports, I foresee it as being a safety issue.” Medway Select Board member Dennis Crowley echoes those concerns, worried that the parking for the non-ADA-compliant location “backs into a busy Village Street.” Crowley confirmed that that the town had no knowledge of the Post Office closing and decried the subsequent misinformation spread on social media. 

“What happens is that misconceptions get printed on the Friends of Medway Facebook page, and that’s unfortunate. A lot (of posts) are blaming the town, but … we didn’t know a thing,” says Crowley, who recently timed his drive to the Bellingham Post Office at “19 minutes and eight sets of lights. Moving Medway residents’ postal services to Bellingham is really an inconvenience.”

The Town of Medway has reached out to Congressman Jim McGovern’s office, as well as Sen. Karen Spilka’s office, regarding the location closure. 

“Congressman McGovern has been in touch directly with the Town of Medway and immediately reached out to USPS leadership to express his concerns after learning about the potential closure of the Medway Post Office on Main Street,” said Matt Bonaccorsi, from McGovern’s office, at press time, “He believes it’s vital that people continue to have the convenience and accessibility of a fully-functional USPS location in Medway, and he opposes any closure or relocation that would make it harder for Medway residents to access vital USPS services.”

USPS, however, has not waivered on its official statement of the situation. When pressed as to The Meehan Group’s statements, Doherty, on August 17th, reiterated, “We were notified that our lease will expire August 31 and would not be renewed. That is what prompted the move to Bellingham,” adding, “There has been no violation of any regulations in this process.”

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