There’s been quite a flap at Burgland Drug Store this week, due to the temporary removal of the popular mail-boxes in that parking lot. Due to the building of the new Old Airport Centre, vacated by Duff Ace Hardware last year, the parking lot was recently re-surfaced with asphalt. George Burgland, part owner of the new facility, now including the drug store, asked the post office to temporarily remove the four mail boxes, which have been there for at least 30 years, probably longer.

When it was time to have them re-installed, Burgland says he was told by the post office they would have to be set in concrete at his expense. He didn’t like this idea and apparently no other options were offered.

Drug store customers and many other businesses and residents of the North Henderson Street area have sorely missed the convenient mail boxes. They are the only drive-up boxes on the northwest side of town. One has to park and leave the car to use the boxes at Hy-Vee grocery store and the Sandburg Mall. The boxes which were at what is now the Old Airport Centre were sometimes so full nothing more could be mailed.

When asked now many people used the boxes, Burgland said “Well, let’s put it this way, last year we sold $90,000 worth of stamps so many of those people probably used those boxes. And we certainly have no mark-up!” Even though he has the expense of hiring help to work on servicing postal clients, the convenience brings in many potential pharmacy customers.

Complaining customers, and there have been many, have been told to call the post office or Congressman Lane Evan’s office. Apparently things have been at an impasse for over a week.

Mark Curley is the Officer-in-Charge at the Galesburg post office, which means he is the temporary Postmaster. I made an appointment with him Monday morning for two in the afternoon. He told me at the beginning of our conversation that the mail boxes could be set on concrete blocks, by the post office and at their expense. He said it was better to have them mobile, anyway. He said they couldn’t be set directly into the asphalt, according to regulations, because of potential damage by rust and salt, and not being secure enough. The old parking lot was concrete. He also said the post office can’t spend money on other people’s property, and off-premises spending takes months or years for approval. Curley said the boxes would be installed within several days.

Burgland heard from me and later Lane Evans office that the mail boxes would be reappearing soon, but as of Tuesday morning had not heard directly from the post office. They are looking forward to their return and after I spoke to George and Mary Burgland, I called Mr. Curley and told him they were pleased with his proposal. Just to set the deal in concrete, as they say.

Do you suppose that sometimes, without mail service, communication can break down? There was obviously some miscommunication here. Curley said he had received some pretty nasty phone calls. The Burglands and their customers were upset and frustrated and the whole north side of Galesburg was driving around town for lack of the usual convenient mail-boxes.

Now, everyone should be happy. A sign at the front of the Old Airport Centre announces that the mail-boxes are coming back. As parade-goers on the front side of Lady Godiva riding side-saddle on her white horse, cheered, “Hurray for our side.”

 

Caroline Porter is a freelance writer who can be reached at cporter@galesburg.net. Other columns are online at www.thezephyr.com.