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Post office site shuts down Saturday

The New Canaan Police Commission approved Wednesday the U.S. Postal Service's request to move some its retail operations to a temporary mobile unit on Pine Street.

The vehicle will be parked on the corner of Park and Pine streets, facing the drop-off mailboxes, across from the post office's current location. Regular postal services and the post office box mail are temporarily moving to 90 Main St. Tuesday, Jan. 21, until the postal service finds a permanent location in New Canaan.

U.S. Postal Service spokesman Christine Dugas said the mobile unit, which she described as "a self-contained vehicle about the size of a small recreational vehicle," is "very temporary" and that it would take about three weeks for the Main Street location to be ready to offer retail services as well.

The post office, which has been at 2 Pine St. for more than 50 years, will shut down operations at that site on Saturday, Jan. 18. After almost two years of failed negotiations, the lease for the Pine Street location will end Jan. 31. Mrs. Green's Natural Market, an organic grocer, already has signed a lease with Elm Street Partners for that space.

Even if there is a deal for a new permanent site within the next few days or weeks, it would still take up to two months to "postalize" that space, Dugas said. By that, she means the post office would have to consider factors such as loading and parking capacities, insurance needs and water availability.

"These include factors such as foot traffic, number of rented post office boxes, and ability to provide appropriate work space and security for our operations," Melissa Lohnes, another USPS spokesman, said in December. "Our negotiations for a site may also include factors such as the willingness of a new landlord to provide modifications or regular maintenance to a location as well as fair market pricing for our needs."

Dugas said the postal service still is committed to finding a permanent space for the post office in town.

"We're looking very hard," she said. "We continue to make every effort we can to find a permanent location in New Canaan."

Police Commission Chairman Stuart Sawabini said the mobile unit would take two parking spaces, which he said should not affect parking in the area.

The hours at the Main Street location will be Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. The trailer will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Dugas encouraged residents who live near the Camp Avenue post office in Stamford to use that location. The post office at 24 Camp Ave. has a self-service kiosk for 24/7 retail service.

noliveira@bcnnew.com, 203-330-6582, @olivnelson

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