Out with the new
ASHTON, Iowa -- Recent developments have cancelled hopes of a new post office in Ashton. Ashton Mayor Melvin Tiedemann recently received a letter informing the community that the town's temporary postal location would likely be remodeled in lieu ...
ASHTON, Iowa -- Recent developments have cancelled hopes of a new post office in Ashton.
Ashton Mayor Melvin Tiedemann recently received a letter informing the community that the town's temporary postal location would likely be remodeled in lieu of building a new facility.
"They are going to talk to the owners of the existing building and see what they want to do," Tiedemann reported Monday.
Ashton has been without a permanent post office since March 2005, when the former location was deemed unfit. The brick building, erected in the 1880s, had structural problems as well as health issues connected with mold. Postal operations were temporarily suspended, forcing Ashton residents to drive to Sheldon, Iowa, to pick up their mail.
A committee was formed to deal with the mail service issue, and a temporary location was found about a block and a half north of Ashton's main drag, at 152 First Ave., a building owned by Jerry and Stacey Johnson of Ashton. The temporary location is open for several hours each morning on business days to provide postal services.
When the original post office was closed, the rural carrier position was moved to Sibley, Iowa, and Ashton citizens were informed that was a permanent situation no matter what happened with a new post office. The carrier delivers to some locations on the edge of town, but most Ashton residents pick up their mail at the post office; the lobby is open 24 hours a day.
In January, town officials received news that a permanent, full-time post office with a postmaster would again be established. Proposals were sought for land or existing buildings that would meet postal service requirements.
Several viable sites were proposed, including a couple on the main thoroughfare, but after viewing the options, the postal service has now deemed those locations unacceptable.
Tiedemann was disappointed that a new facility is no longer a possibility.
"I thought the spots we had would be all right for it, but times change, and it costs a lot of money" to build a completely new facility, he reflected. "It would have been nice. There are a couple of vacant spots on main street, and it would have been nice to get something in one of them."
If, however, remodeling the current location is viable and results in getting a permanent post office and full-time postmaster, Tiedemann believes Ashton residents will be happy with the outcome. After three years, people have gotten used to the post office in its temporary location.
"I'm hoping to get some more information," he said. "We've got 30 days to appeal (the decision). The next council meeting will be a week from tonight (Monday), so we'll have to talk to the council and see what they think and go from there. The postal system doesn't give out a lot of information. They keep me in the dark like a mushroom. ... You've got to take your time and take your steps and play it cool, and hopefully, down the line, you get what you want."