Waite Park mail processing center closure meeting set for tonight

Waite Park mail processing center closure meeting set for tonight Click to Enlarge Photo:

Dec 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

ST. CLOUD, Minn. (KNSI) - St. Cloud residents will get their chance Thursday night to sound off on U.S. Postal Service plans that could mean shutting down the Waite Park mail processing center next year.

Community members were welcome to attend a town hall meeting hosted by postal officials Thursday evening to hear the latest on the possible plan as well as offer comments on the proposal. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the St. Cloud Holiday Inn & Suites on 37th Avenue South.

The 10th Avenue South mail sorting hub is one of four in Minnesota being studied for possible closure as the embattled Postal Service struggles to cut costs by up to $20 billion by 2015 and help the agency stave off bankruptcy. Other centers that could close next year include Bemidji, Duluth and Rochester.

The viability of the Waite Park center, which employs about 145 workers, has been at the center of study since the Postal Service made up their list of possible shuttered sites back in September, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Pete Nowacki said.

"We will give a presentation that gives some specific information about the St. Cloud plant and what the movement could mean for people and then we'll do our best to answer what people have on their minds," Nowacki said.

Nowacki said initial assessments showed the Postal Service would save approximately $5.4 million annually by closing the Waite Park location and moving all mail processing duties to the agency's Minneapolis Processing & Distribution Center.

About half of the 145 employees could potentially lose their jobs if the center closes, but Nowacki said the Postal Service would work to either move as many of those workers as possible to its Minneapolis operation or find other positions for them with the agency.

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