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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Neither Rain, Nor Sleet, Nor Moving

By James Lomuscio

Westport Postmaster Dennis Kassimis says that he has been too busy with holiday mail and the scheduled move to Playhouse Square to wax nostalgic about the Westport Post Office leaving the brick building it has called home since the 1930s.

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Westport Postermaster Dennis Kassimis outside the new Main Post Office in Playhouse Square which opens on Tuesday. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

“We’re just too busy to think about it,” Kassimis said about leaving the time honored facility at 154 Post Road East. “It’s always after the storm, when things quiet down, that you start to think about it.”

Kassimis and the five employees there will not have too much time to reflect. The old, 7,000-square-foot facility officially closes Saturday, and on Tuesday, Jan. 3 will reopen in smaller, 2,700-square-foot space in Playhouse Square. The official address, Kassimis notes, is 275 Post Road East, Suite 10, a section of building that had previously been occupied by Derma Clinic.

He is quick to point out that the new building, while smaller, will have added advantages such as better parking and 24-hour access to Post Office boxes compared to the current building’s 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. hours. The number of boxes will be 678 compared to 758 at the current facility.

“However, there are a lot of those that have been closed, and everybody will have the same box number,” Kassimis said. “They will only have to come in, show their identification, pick up their new keys and turn in their old keys.”

The postmaster also stressed that parking will be easier at the new location, compared to the few spaces in front of the Post Road building and the need for patrons to seek out spaces in adjacent parking lots.

“Every time I go there (Playhouse Square), there is parking on the side of the building, about 20 spots,” he said. “Parking and access will be easier, and you have a traffic control light to get in and out of Playhouse Square.”

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The new post office in Playhouse Square is in an end unit that was previously occupied by Derma Clinic. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for WestportNow.com

He stressed that no jobs would be lost in the move and that patrons will see the same five employees at the new site. Kassimis also noted that patrons using bulk mail will have to use the Post Office carrier annex on Westport Avenue in Norwalk, “about 2.2 miles down the road.”

Opened in 2004, the annex is where Westport and Weston mail is sorted and carriers are based. It does not have a patron window, Kassimis said, but has a bulk mail drop area. The annex is also where residents who are away and having their mail held will go to pick up mail upon their return, he said. If they prefer, he added, they can have it redelivered.

Kassimis noted that the move coincides with two other milestones for Westport’s postal workers. Carriers Frank Mantlik, who retires Friday after 34 years, and Robert Rotty, who has 31 years of service and is still delivering, have both been honored with the “Million Mile Award.” It is given to postal carriers who have logged one million miles or more without an accident.

“It’s an amazing accomplishment,” Kassimis said.

So, too, is the new facility, he said.

“It will be good for the town and good for the employees,” he said. “Everything is new, state of the art.”

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Posted 12/29/11 at 07:16 PM  Permalink



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