Delaware’s only postal facility spared

The Hares Corner processing facility in New Castle is no longer on the chopping block, preserving hundreds of Delaware jobs.

Workers at the Delaware site learned, Wednesday, their facility, and their jobs, had been spared.

“It’s a lot more than welcome news, it’s the answer to a lot of people’s prayers, including my own, so this is a great day,” said Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del. He chairs the subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Postal Service.

Last September, state leaders learned the U.S. Postal Service planned on closing Hares Corner, sending Delaware’s mail to a facility in Bellmawr, New Jersey. After several meetings and hearings, Delaware’s Congressional Delegation wrote to U.S. Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe pointing out flaws in the consolidation plan to close Hares Corner.

“The argument that we presented to the Postal Service was if you take away and close the mail processing center at Hares Corner, then what you’ve done is made Delaware the only state without a mail processing center, the only state without a postmark,” said Sen. Carper. “Part of our linchpin of economic development here is financial services and a lot of our big banks count on access to a mail processing center in their backyard. And take it away, and it reduces our economic competitiveness and actually gives it away to other surrounding states.”

Alternatively, Sen. Carper says the state suggested, rather than reroute Delaware’s mail to New Jersey, send the mail from the Easton, MD processing center, which was already marked for closure, and Cecil County, MD to Hares Corner instead of to an already overwhelmed Baltimore processing facility.

“As it turns out, Baltimore is already receiving new mail from Frederick, MD, from as far away as West Virginia. They were jammed up back at Christmas time,” said Carper. “And in the end, we have plenty of work for the folks at Hares Corner to do, and I think a more viable, cost-effective option for the Postal Service.”

In a press release issued today, the U.S. Postal Service confirmed the Hares Corner plant will remain open stating, “The Postal Service has determined that there was no significant opportunity to improve efficiency or service through consolidation of mail processing operations at the Delaware Processing & Distribution Facility, and no changes will be made at this time.”

Gov. Jack Markell, D-Del, credited the delegation’s efforts, especially Sen. Carper, for fighting to keep the site open. Markell says the coalition of workers, banks, unions, community groups and public officials that came together to fight for the facility shows the way Delaware tackle’s problems. He says the decision demonstrates the importance of those postal workers at Hares Corner.  

“Every single day, the workforce at Hares Corner is working hard to provide services to Delawareans and our employers. This decision affirmed what we’ve known all along–their contribution is very important to our community.”

Celebrating the news with back flips and cartwheels, Sen. Carper said the Postal Service still faces significant challenges.

“The debates about postal facilities and mail service underway around the country underscore again the very dire financial challenges the Postal Service faces. The unfortunate truth is that, if nothing is done, the Postal Service will be insolvent within a year.”

The Postal Service has experienced a 25 percent decline in First-Class Mail volume since 2006, a major factor in the agency’s current financial crisis.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

It will take 126,000 members this year for great news and programs to thrive. Help us get to 100% of the goal.