Holland P.O. beset by gaps in parking lot

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 27, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Potholes half the size of a bushel basket dot the pavement at the post office in the Holland community, and with no solution in sight citizens of the sleepy little farming community are up in arms.

Thomas G. Underwood, the borough’s unofficial mayor, said the potholes are causing problems and he’s concerned that someone will be injured. He, like other citizens in the small rural community, has called the Postmaster of Suffolk, James E. Colston, to complain about the situation.


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Underwood said he understands that protocol must be observed, however, this has been a problem for more than three months.

&uot;The potholes are worsening every time it rains, and they are clearly a hazard,&uot; said Underwood, a former mayor of Suffolk and city councilman who also served as an interim city manager on occasion. &uot;People who come to do business with the post office should have safe access to the building. It’s also a hazard for people with wheelchairs and when it’s raining, you cannot see the holes and I’m concerned that someone will be seriously hurt.&uot;

He said he’s certain the problem is being examined, and offered a temporary solution.

&uot;They could dump some crush-and-run gravel in the holes, or anything that would temporarily fix the problem until the postal authorities decide what they can do toward permanent repairs,&uot; said Underwood.

It’s just not that simple said the postmaster, who added that he is also concerned about the situation. Instead of simply filling the potholes, Colston has asked that the parking lot be repaved.

&uot;In the last letter to the owners of the building, which we lease, we gave them until May 31 to tell us when the repairs would be made,&uot; he said. &uot;I’ve got to wait until we hear from them before I can contact the contractors the postal service uses to get them to do the repairs. Then, we in turn, will bill the owners of the property.&uot;

Colston explained that the government is no longer in the business of owning buildings, but instead leases them.

The postmaster also said that he is constrained in charging ahead with repaving the parking lot because of guidelines issued by postal officials. Those guidelines give strict procedures to follow in the operation and maintenance of the facilities they use. Even though the contractor was notified, Colston said he’s proceeding as if no action has been taken.

&uot;We are concerned about the situation out there – I’ve been out to the post office and seen the shape it’s in,&uot; he added. &uot;We have a situation where it’s getting worse by the day, and we are just in a predicament and all the contracts are handled by a Greensboro, N.C. contractor. We are turning it over to the Richmond office and they will contact Greensboro and it will be handled. We were hoping in April that this would be solved.&uot;

As for filling the holes temporarily, Colston said that expense could fall upon the post office and not be reimbursed by the building’s owners. He said the post office could not take that risk. Meanwhile, Underwood said the people of Holland are risking injury while doing business in the post office.

&uot;That’s a given in any business,&uot; said Colston. &uot;I’ve had a few phone calls about this situation, and I am working toward taking care of it. I am concerned about it, and hope it will shortly be resolved.&uot;