MIDDLE TOWNSHIP — Whitesboro will get a new post office at a new location after going months without one, postal officials told community members Thursday.
The former post office trailer next to the Martin Luther King Jr. Center at 207 Main St. was removed over the summer.
Since then, residents with post office boxes have picked up their mail at the MLK Center. The former trailer was in bad shape, with rust stains on the exterior and other aesthetic issues.
“We’ll do better than that for you,” David M. Wolff, a real estate specialist with the U.S. Postal Service, said during a special meeting at the MLK center.
Plans call for another trailer, which would be 40 feet long and a little more than 12 feet wide, essentially the same size as a standard tractor-trailer cargo space.
Resident Gloria M. Jackson asked whether the Postal Service could design a building in keeping with the historic nature of the community.
“When we get done it, it will look really nice,” Wolff responded about the new trailer. “They do not look tacky.”
Wolff would not say how much the Postal Service has budgeted for the site or for the building.
He said he will look at options for a location and make a recommendation to a committee, which will make the final decision. That process typically takes about five months from when he makes his report presenting options, he said.
He did not give an estimate for how long it will be until the new post office is in place. In the meantime, those with P.O. boxes can continue to collect their mail at the MLK center, where a room has been set aside for the boxes in use.
The township has already offered a site for the trailer: the historic Whitesboro School at 100 Main St., not far from the MLK center. The building has not been used as a school for some time, according to Mayor Timothy Donohue, who said it is used by the Concerned Citizens of Whitesboro for programs. Those programs would not be interrupted if the post office trailer were located at the site, he said.
According to Donohue, some improvements to the crosswalks leading to the property would be needed to make crossing Route 9 safer. The route is also known as Main Street through much of Middle Township.
The Postal Service has not decided on the township site, Wolff said, adding he is willing to consider leasing retail space or other possibilities.
Whitesboro residents said Thursday, and in other meetings, that keeping the independent identity of the historically black community is important. Some residents said their homes have been in Whitesboro throughout their lives, but that they are now listed in the Cape May Court House ZIP code for home delivery. Others said GPS and home delivery services like Amazon in some instances don’t even recognize Whitesboro, while others raised concerns about public safety if emergency responders cannot locate addresses. Wolff said he is responsible for real estate transactions, but that he would try to find answers.
Whitesboro began in 1901, founded by attorney and Republican North Carolina Congressman George Henry White, the last African American representative elected before the start of the Jim Crow era. He and other investors founded Whitesboro as a planned community for African Americans.
Residents have 30 days from the date of the meeting to offer comment or suggest potential sites for the new post office. Wolff said comments may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org or to PO Box 27497, Greensboro, NC, 27498.