Tonight, send a message to the US Post Service

Don’t close the Lihue post office on Rice Street.

That’s a message we hope is delivered loud and clear tonight during a meeting on the United States Postal Service’s proposal to consolidate the Lihue post office’s retail operations at 4441 Rice St. with delivery operations at its Carrier Annex at 3230 Kapule Highway.

The closure is being proposed to provide better parking and accessibility, which are limited at the Rice Street site.

The Lihue post office is literally standing history. It is the first stand-alone U.S. Post Office building on Kauai that opened nearly 80 years ago. It is a key to revitalization plans for Rice Street. It is a place of great character and community. It is right in the heart of Lihue.

Is parking a challenge? Yes. Can it be a pain trying to access the post office? Yes.

To that, we say, we can live with those issues if it means keeping Lihue’s history around and keeping the post office where it is. We don’t believe it should be closed and moved. Too often, we decide to do away with our past and go modern, at the expense of community connections. A post office on Kapule Highway near the airport hardly seems appealing.

But you don’t have to take our word for it.

In a poll last month, TGI asked, “What do you think of the plan to close the Lihue post office and move it to the annex near the Lihue Airport off Kapule Airport?

The responses: 104 loved it, 332 hated it and 152 didn’t care. That’s pretty overwhelming against the plan.

We also asked three leaders on Kauai, Sue Kanoho, executive director of the Kauai Visitors Bureau, Mark Perriello, president of the Kauai Chamber of Commerce, and Pat Griffin, president of the Lihue Business Association, what they thought. All were against the closure of the Rice Street post office.

Perriello: “Closing the Rice Street post office in Lihue would be extremely disruptive to the businesses and residents of Kauai.”

Kanoho: “I was shocked, as many are, to know this was even an option for our island and the heart of Lihue.”

Griffin: “Although the proposed move might be narrowly good for the USPS, it is bad for the life of the community.”

It would be wise to listen to the words of key of Kauai’s leaders. To go against them, to ignore the wishes of the people, would be a mistake, one that once made, could not be corrected.

Now, for the sake of argument, we should note that under the proposal, all Lihue post office box customers would have their boxes transferred to the new location. Addresses would remain the same. No jobs would be lost because employees would be transferred.

Would life continue if the Rice Street post office is closed? Sure. Would we go to the new post office on Kapule Highway to send packages? Yes. And parking would certainly be easier.

At what cost?

Lihue would be losing history, character, community and a key player in its Rice Street revitalization plans. Seems like we’re playing a high price for better post office parking.

Tonight’s meeting is set for 6 at Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall. The USPS will have representatives on hand. Be there and send a message.

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