Olive Hill Post Office Closed

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Nearly 300 customers in the Olive Hill community are being impacted after its post office closed Wednesday afternoon. The postal service told 7 Eyewitness News it is not closed for good yet, since its services will be moving over to Clifton several miles away, but residents are still upset about the move. The Olive Hill post office has been sharing a building with the H.O. Smith & Sons store since 1971, but since the store is closing in a couple days, the post office has nowhere else to go but Clifton, at least for now. Larry Bowling is a retired post master, who worked at the Olive Hill branch for more than 34 years, and is sad to see it move. “It’s more than the post office, it’s a meeting place and seeing your friends and what’s going on in the community,” Bowling said. The move comes because H.O. Smith & Sons, which owns the building, is closing Saturday. The post office has no choice but to leave. “Both the study for the discontinuance and that kind of eviction kind’ve happened simultaneously,” said David Underwood, Tennessee District Post Office Operations Manager. “The study for the possible closure of the Olive Hill post office is still ongoing.” Underwood said the post office serves 290 customers. The 30 who have P.O. boxes will either have to get one in Clifton, or opt for home delivery. The route should stay the same, but postal officials said it could take them a little longer to get their mail because Clifton is further away. “Our goal is to be invisible, that they don’t see any difference whatsoever,” Underwood said. If residents do not want to drive to Clifton or Savannah, Underwood said they can go online or use the rural carrier. “The rural carrier is a post office on wheels,” he said. “They can sell them postal products, they can sell them stamps, they can take packages back for them, weigh them up…” But Bowling said that is just not the same. “We’ll have the rural service, but we miss the local gathering and seeing other people,” he said. According to Underwood, the postal service has some tough decisions ahead. The future of Olive Hill’s post office, and about 60 others in Tennessee is still up in the air. Underwood said the postal service has until May 15 or so to decide if they will close the post offices for good.

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