Serving Northern St. Louis County, Minnesota

New Embarrass Post Office set to open Monday

Jodi Summit
Posted 3/28/18

EMBARRASS - The long wait for a new post office in Embarrass is almost over.

The new Embarrass Post Office is set to open Monday, April 2, after the old post office building was closed in January …

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New Embarrass Post Office set to open Monday

Posted

EMBARRASS - The long wait for a new post office in Embarrass is almost over.

The new Embarrass Post Office is set to open Monday, April 2, after the old post office building was closed in January 2015. The post office window will be open 7 – 11 a.m., and the building itself will be open 24/7 for the convenience of box holders.

Jennifer Boese, the current Embarrass Township clerk, has been hired as the new Postal Clerk, and is currently completing training for the job, which is part-time.

Equipping the new post office has been a lot of work, said Janice Johnson-Jacka, the Tower Postmaster, who oversees the Soudan and Embarrass post offices. The post new office has new computers, meters, scales, and other equipment, which is now all installed. Wanda Eckman, the Postal Clerk in Tower, will be working in Embarrass until Boese is fully trained.

Johnson-Jacka said Embarrass rural route residents will see delivery times change, similar to when the old post office was in operation.

The old building was closed due to structural and safety issues. The building was being leased from a private individual. The decision to close the post office took the community by surprise, though the condition of the old building was no secret. Embarrass Post Office staff moved to the Tower Post Office, and box holders in Embarrass were assigned new boxes in Tower. The Embarrass Post Office had about 40 box holders but about 600 Embarrass residences receive their mail on the two rural delivery routes.

Embarrass residents approved the township’s purchase of a building for the post office at a special meeting in January 2017. Residents approved purchasing an existing building at a cost of $33,000 plus closing costs, which would then be moved to the new site, the old Union 76 lot (purchased for $18,800), next to the Embarrass-Vermillion Credit Union office on Hwy. 21 in downtown Embarrass. The town board estimated the total cost for the project would be $100,000, noted the post office would be making a monthly lease payment, and that the township was applying for some grants to help with the project.

The project has run over budget. Current spending on the project, as reported at the annual meeting earlier this month was at $175,035, with another $9,750 in estimated costs for landscaping and paving. These costs do not include the interior renovations, which are being paid in full by the post office.

The township did receive a $47,800 grant from the IRRRB for the project. Monthly lease payments from the post office, which began in August 2017, are $1,100. The township received $7,700 in lease payments in 2017, and will receive $13,200 per year through the length of the lease.

The township has financed these costs through spending down township reserves, which sat at $91,500 in 2017 when the decision was made to go ahead with the project. It was reported at the annual meeting that $55,669 has been withdrawn from township reserves to pay for the project so far, leaving township reserves at $36,306, a number that concerned some residents. The township’s levy for 2018 is $150,000 but did not include any dedicated funding for the post office project. Residents raised the levy to $154,000 for 2019.

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