Parshall’s post office to close Nov. 29 |

Parshall’s post office to close Nov. 29

Postal Service officials hope to get a new Parshall location

Left without a physical post office, Parshall residents will now pick up mail from these Cluster Box Units located off Highway 40.
Meg Soyars/Sky-Hi News

In October, Parshall residents received notice that their post office was closing, effective Nov. 29. Residents were alarmed that this essential building would shutter, especially on the heels of the upcoming holiday season. Reacting to the news, many residents expressed how difficult it would be to have mail service without a physical location.

To address residents’ concerns and give details about the closure, Brighton Postmaster Josh Sprong, Kremmling Postmaster Christa Kopp and Steven Wheeler, the region’s manager of post office operations, held a town meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 1.

Sprong told residents that the U.S. Postal Service doesn’t own the Parshall facility, they only lease it. The lease has terminated for undisclosed reasons. Without giving specific details, Sprong told residents that the decision was not related to cost-cutting or workforce issues.  

“We know this emotional for everybody. We care, we really do. This is not something we take lightly,” Sprong said. “It’s not something we want to do. … Sometimes there’s not a lot of options, and we’re kind of forced.”

As a long-time postal worker, Sprong said he was aware of how the closure could impact the community.

“I knew my customers, I knew their families, I watched their kids grow up,” he said.  “The post office is a community place; you go there, you talk to your neighbors. In Brighton … people come in and stand in the lobby and chitchat for hours. We understand the importance of a post office inside your community.”

Cluster box units will replace Postal Service

The Postal Service has known about the closure since March 2021. Officials originally expected to find a new location before their current lease ended and searched for a plot of land to build on or lease in the town of Parshall, but nothing materialized.

Sprong explained that the closure is expected to be temporary until a new post office location is found. As the Postal Service continues to search for land, cluster box units, also known as community mailboxes, will replace the post office and ensure continuity of mail services. 

According to Sprong, cluster boxes are the only practical solution for Parshall. He said mountain communities such as those in Summit County frequently utilize the boxes.

The cluster boxes are located on a turnoff at U.S. Hwy 40 and County Road 3. The Postal Service can use the land since it’s owned by Grand County Road and Bridge, and CDOT has an easement to it.

The boxes provide 96 mailbox compartments to fit regular-sized mail, and 12 parcel lockers for large packages. Residents can receive packages in the parcel lockers. They can also send packages by locking them in the collection mail compartments for pickup.

Some residents expressed concern that the employee who will deliver to the cluster boxes might be impeded by the area’s harsh winters, but Sprong assured them that snow is par for the course for High Country Postal Service contractors.

“We have employees that deliver in negative 50 degree weather in Alaska and everything else. The carriers that you guys have acclimate to the weather conditions,” he said. “There’s still expectations of these individuals that they will deliver successfully, they will deliver accurately. It’s not like this person is going out there and throwing (mail) into a box and they don’t care. … There’s definitely accountability toward them; we just need that feedback if that is occurring so it can be addressed.”

Sprong stated they’ll work on additional options as time goes on, such as installing lighting at the cluster boxes to make it safer for residents who pick up their mail at night. He added the Postal Service is open to feedback from their customers during this difficult transition.

What about rural routes?

Residents who receive delivery at their homes on the Postal Service’s rural routes won’t be affected. Sprong said the same highway contractor that services Parshall’s rural routes will stop by the cluster boxes each day to drop off and pick up mail.

Residents who will lose their post office boxes asked why they couldn’t receive home delivery service as well.

Sprong explained that highway contractors drive the rural routes, not postal employees. The contracts are specifically written, so the Postal Service can’t add more stops to a contractor’s predetermined route. To add stops, they may have to create multiple routes and might not be able to find the contractors to take them on.

He added that delivering mail to mountain communities is not straightforward. Although the town of Parshall only has six cleanly divided streets, other residents are spread out through the area’s zip code, including some on farms and ranches. Rural routes are created as corridors using mathematical equations. 

Kremmling post office will pick up in-person services

Kremmling serves as the area’s main post office, so all services that require a physical office will go through only that location. A package will go to Kremmling if it’s addressed incorrectly or if there’s no room in the parcel lockers to hold a package. Residents can also have a P.O. Box in Kremmling, but they will have to pay for it.

Kopp said they don’t plan to extend Kremmling’s post office hours, but they will be as accommodating as possible, such as holding packages in lockers for Parshall residents to pick up after hours. She said the office has enough employees to take on extra packages.

“We will take the time to make sure (mail) gets home to you,” said Kopp. “I wouldn’t be happy if this was happening to me. … People don’t like change, but we are invested to ensure you get the best quality of service at that facility. We just need to work together, and give us feedback.”  

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