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Trust joins opponents of post office plan

The Brookhaven Trust Board of Directors Monday unanimouslyapproved a resolution opposing a post office plan to install mailboxes for curbside delivery, and a petition drive against the planis also picking up steam.

Since news of the plan surfaced last week, Trust President PattiPerkins said she had received more calls about mail boxes than anyother subject. She estimated she had fielded at least 25 calls.

Letters sent last week to homeowners said the post office wouldbe installing curb-line mailboxes within the next two weeks at nocost to the customers. Postal officials said the plan is to beimplemented city-wide, but they were starting with routes that hadthe most carrier walking.

Tom Moak, a member of Trust, expressed concerns about appearancein the city’s historic district. If the post office handles thework, he said, it will done as cheaply as possible, and ifhomeowners do it, there will be a variety of different boxdesigns.

“I have not talked to anybody who wants to do this,” Moaksaid.

Ward 4 Alderman John Roberts, a South Jackson Street residentwho has not received a letter, indicated maintaining historicdistrict appearance was the Trust’s mission.

“We are about preservation and that is an historic district,”Roberts said.

Brookhaven postal officials were unavailable for comment Tuesdaymorning on the Trust’s action. Acting Customer Service SupervisorBrian Stockton, listed as a contact person in the mail box letter,directed a call to Postmaster Gary Black, who is on vacation thisweek.

Black said last week the historic district designation couldaffect plans for that area. He said he would welcome Trust input inan effort to meet residents’ concerns but also to speed up maildelivery.

“The more ideas we have, the better it will be,” Black said.

Black said curb-side mail boxes, which he described as black,generic, non-locking boxes, would improve delivery efficiency byreducing the time carriers spend walking to boxes mounted on homes.Black said approximately half the city’s residential locations arealready set up for curb-line deliver, and the post office islooking to increase that percentage to around 90-95 percent.

In addition to appearance, Trust members also questioned thequality of the mail box work. Perkins said she understood the boxeswould be mounted on an untreated four-by-four and placed in theground.

“This thing is going to fall down on its own in a very shorttime,” Perkins said.

Perkins said the “tacky” mailboxes were put up in Hattiesburgand residents did not act to prevent the plan. She did not wantBrookhaven to be in a similar situation.

“The time to act is now,” Perkins said.

Roberts, who said there was not enough time to get the mailboxissue on tonight’s city board meeting agenda, said the issueaffects the entire city. The entire city is under consideration asan historic district, and there are historic sites on the east sideof town as well as the west side, he noted.

“I don’t want this to look like it’s South Jackson and SouthChurch, because it’s not,” Roberts said.

After approving a resolution against the mail box plan, Trustdirectors signed a petition started by Suzanne Britt, a resident onWest Chickasaw Street.

Britt said she had collected 27 signatures from residents in theimmediate area around her home. The Trust directors’ signaturesadded 23 to the total as she aims for 100 on the petition.

If 100 petition signatures were not enough to halt mail boxplans, Britt said she planned to get more. Roberts said he plannedhelp with the petition drive today.

“The people I’ve talked to have been vehemently opposed to it,”Britt said.