Future of Lihue post office still uncertain

LIHUE — There is no date set for the next community meeting regarding the proposed change of address for the Lihue post office, according to Duke Gonzales, USPS spokesman.

In April, the USPS announced that it was reconsidering a plan to relocate its operations from Rice Street to the annex facility near the airport.

That came about three months after a piece of paper was taped to the door of the post office, located at 4441 Rice St., saying the USPS was considering closing down operations.

A final decision about the move has not yet been made, Gonzales said.

In January, USPS rolled out a plan to move to the USPS Carrier Annex facility at 3230 Kapule Highway.

All Lihue P.O. Box customers would have their boxes transferred to that location, and addresses would remain the same. Additionally, since employees would be transferred, no one would lose their jobs.

USPS officials said the proposed new location will provide better safety and access for customers.

But the idea was met with resistance from the Lihue community who said the Rice Street location, which opened in 1939 and is the first stand-alone post office on Kauai, was a staple in the community. Additionally, the building is on the Hawaii State Register and the National Register of Historic Places.

The Planning Department is working with the USPS to come up with solutions for parking. Those include working with the property owners to find a different way for cars to get in and out of the parking lot, adding on-street parking across the street and designating stalls for post office parking in the county parking lot, said Ka’aina Hull, deputy planning director.

A community meeting about the plan was held in February. And by March, residents on Kauai had mailed more than 100 coconuts to Dean Cameron of USPS in San Francisco, asking the entity to keep the Lihue location open. The cost of shipping 100 coconuts was about $15 to $20 each.

Kauai County Councilwoman JoAnn Yukimura also drafted a resolution to be sent to USPS, urging it to keep the location.

That resolution was rejected 4-2 on March 23. Councilmembers Arthur Burn, Ross Kagawa, Arryl Kaneshiro and Mel Rapozo, council chair, voted against the resolution while Yukimura and Councilman Mason Chock supported it. Councilman Derek Kawakami was not at the meeting.

While some of the councilmembers, like Brun, said they don’t want the location to change, they added that it is not the council’s business to tell USPS, a federal government agency, what to do.

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