Home News and Features Nine Months After Flood, Montpelier Gets Promise of Downtown Post Office

Nine Months After Flood, Montpelier Gets Promise of Downtown Post Office

Photo by John Lazenby.
Montpelier will have a post office again. Nearly nine months after the federal building on State Street was damaged in the July 2023 flood, the United States Postal Service has signed a lease with the Vermont League of Cities and Towns for space in the City Center building at 89 Main Street, according to Steve Doherty, USPS communications specialist.

The lease, which officially began Monday, April 1, is a “temporary long-term” solution, Doherty said, noting that the USPS still seeks a permanent space in which to house not only retail space, but also a place for mail carriers and mail sorting (which is currently happening at the Central Vermont Marketplace at 282 Berlin Mall Road in Berlin). In the meantime, starting sometime “before the summer months,” Montpelier residents will no longer have to drive to Barre to pick up postal box mail, buy stamps, and drop off packages. 

“We’re going to be [at 89 Main Street] for a while, but it doesn’t stop the search for a location that will accommodate [mail carriers, letter sorting, and retail operations],” Doherty said. “When you consider the length of time it took to find this property,” he noted, “it may be some time before a permanent site becomes available.” 

“Montpelier has been without a post office for 262 days, impacting citizens, businesses, our valued letter carriers, and neighboring communities,” noted Ben Doyle, chair of the Montpelier Commission for Recovery and Resilience, in a March 31 press release. “The USPS decision likely would not have come without the combined efforts of U.S. Senators Welch and Sanders and Rep. Balint, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, the city’s state legislators and municipal leaders, and the many, many Montpelier residents who contacted the USPS directly. All are to be thanked and applauded for standing up for Montpelier.”

The role of the commission, formed after the flood, “is to help coordinate and make connections and support all of the long-term recovery efforts and resilience efforts in Montpelier,” Doyle said in an interview with The Bridge. “In the case of the post office, it became clear this is a huge problem for our community.”

Doyle said the commission reached out to the USPS multiple times, but “when they were nonresponsive and frankly dismissive, we reached out to our congressional delegation, organized a rally,” and shared contact information for key leaders in the USPS with the community so individuals could reach out themselves.

Calling the long delay in replacing Montpelier’s post office “a failure of leadership” at the USPS, Doyle said “the last piece of advocacy we did was on March 14,” when the commission sent a letter stating that if USPS did not sign a lease for a retail space downtown within two weeks, then “we were going to take additional advocacy efforts — including a pop-up post office on State and Main streets, staffed by children.”

Two weeks later, the post office announced it had signed a lease.