The Free Press, Mankato, MN

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May 19, 2013

Deadline moving up for first-class mail

Postal Service holding meeting with businesses over shutdown

MANKATO — Other than the U.S. Postal Service mail handlers who will be losing their jobs, the people most affected by the impending closure of Mankato’s mail processing facility are local businesses that do a lot of large mailing.

The Postal Service is holding a meeting Friday with those businesses to discuss the changes at the Mankato Processing and Distribution Facility located off Third Avenue in Mankato.

More than 200 businesses and organizations that hold bulk mail permits to mail from Mankato were invited to the meeting, said Pete Nowacki, a postal service spokesman.

One of the most obvious changes due to the looming shift of mail processing from Mankato to Minneapolis is that first-class mail will have to be dropped off with the Postal Service at 3 p.m. beginning this summer rather than 6 p.m. to meet service standards, according Nowacki. The “critical access time” for other classes of mail will remain at the current 3 p.m. deadline.

“So if you have a first-class mailing that you need delivered the next day, it has to be to us by 3 p.m. for us to be able to meet that standard,” Nowacki said.

The meeting for the large mailers is 1:30 p.m. Friday at the distribution facility, 851 Summit Ave.

The first part of the shutdown is anticipated to hit sometime before July 31 — about a year after originally planned.

That initial cost-cutting measure by the cash-strapped Postal Service means that mail collected from post offices across southwestern and south-central Minnesota — all ZIP codes beginning with 560 and 561 — will go to Minneapolis to be sorted and sent on to each piece’s final destination.

The facility also sorts mail coming in from other processing centers around the country and sends it on to the proper post offices in a region that stretches from the South Dakota line to Waseca. That work is anticipated to be transferred to Minneapolis by early 2014.

The Postal Service will retain the large facility off Third Avenue as a transportation hub and a collection point for business mail. About 32 jobs are expected to continue after February at the site, which had well over 100 employees as recently as five years ago.

 

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