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BOCA RATON — A five-decade-old post office in downtown Boca Raton might close its doors and relocate, but residents are fighting to stop that.
More than 1,000 people have signed a petition urging the U.S. Postal Service not to close or relocate the downtown Boca Raton location, on Northeast Second Street and Northeast Mizner Boulevard.
City officials are lobbying federal lawmakers and the U.S. Postal Service to keep the downtown postal hub, which residents have called “essential” to doing business downtown.
The office also is frequented by more downtown condominium owners over the years, as residential development in Boca Raton’s downtown swells.
“Our businesses and residents rely on these services,” Councilman Jeremy Rodgers said.
A spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service said Tuesday she doesn’t know why the mail agency wants to relocate the 50-plus-year-old office. But the downtown location will not close unless the service finds a new location, spokeswoman Debbie Fetterly said.
“We’re really looking for public input on this,” she said. A town hall meeting is Thursday at 4:30 p.m., at the Community Center Annex near City Hall, to ideas from residents on the relocation.
“Maybe one of the residents has an idea where we might be able to relocate,” Fetterly said.
The 8,500-square-foot post office is just south of Mizner Park outdoor retail-dining plaza, and closed briefly in February because of nearby construction. Fetterly could not say whether construction is prompting the relocation effort.
About 1,100 residents have signed a petition asking that the postal service keeps the downtown office, said Michael Liss, founder of the Boca Downtown Business Alliance.
“It’s a quality of life issue,” resident Andy Thompson said. “It’s difficult to imagine a downtown business district without a post office there.”
Councilwoman Andrea O’Rourke pitched an idea she says could solve two of Boca Raton’s pressing issues: Build a parking garage with a first-floor post office at the site.
The post office land is owned by James and Marta Batmasian, the largest commercial landowners in the city. O’Rourke said at a city meeting Monday that she’d spoken with “the landlords” about collaborating to create a public-private parking garage with first-floor retail.
The city has been researching ways to add parking to parts of the downtown that are parked to capacity on weekends, including Mizner Park, but has been pressed for land.
“We are desperate for a garage in our downtown,” O’Rourke said.