A number of post offices in the county threatened with closure now appear to be safe.
The U.S. Postal Service announced Wednesday a strategy to keep small post offices open by reducing the number of retail window hours. Access to the retail lobby and to P.O. Boxes would stay the same.
According to the Associated Press, the Postal Service had planned to close up to 3,700 low-revenue post offices sometime after May 15. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe cited community opposition as contributing to the decision in a news briefing on Wednesday. The reduced hours would not be completed until September 2014 and save an estimated half -billion dollars annually.
In July, the Postal Service had announced plans to study 32,000 retail offices throughout the country for possible closure, with local ones including: Bear Lake, Chandlers Valley, Grand Valley, Endeavor, Spring Creek, Garland and Tiona.
John Cornell had worked to keep the post office in Grand Valley open. On Wednesday, he said he was very pleased the efforts of communities across the United States paid off.
"Our voices were heard," Cornell said. "It means a lot to our small community to have a post office."
The facility serves an important role, Cornell said, as the only other place for community events is the volunteer fire department. Losing the post office could have possibly taken away the identity of the community, he said.
Decreased hours are not a problem, Cornell said, as he had never personally thought the post office had to be open all day every day. Having service available is what matters, he said, even if residents must alter their schedules.
"I'd rather have ours open part time than have to drive to another community," Cornell said.
Since the announcement, Cornell said he has not been in contact with the members of Congress with whom he had expressed his concerns. However, he said he looks forward to meeting with them and thanking them for their efforts.
From what he has heard, Cornell said there were similar movements across the nation of trying to negotiate cutting hours or days of service to keep post offices open. One of the main concerns was the closings would not have had a significant savings.
"When we first started the campaign, we didn't know if anyone would actually listen," Cornell said. "It's been a nationwide concern and a grassroots effort."
A local meeting held by the Postal Service was well attended, Cornell said, and residents expressed concern about the decisions being imposed on their communities. They were especially concerned about how the elderly would be impacted, he said, as well as small businesses.