Buckeye-Shaker Square rallies to save East 130th St. post office

Ward 6 council member Blaine Griffin speaks at the press conference outside the E. 130th St. post office.

Ward 6 council member Blaine Griffin speaks at the press conference outside the E. 130th St. post office.

Update: On May 17, 2021, Organize Ohio released the following statement: “In response to the press conference held last week, USPS has launched a new service in Buckeye-Shaker to provide basic postal services to residents and business owners while the E. 130th St. Post Office undergoes repairs. The location should be open again for full service by October 2021.”

With loud chants of “Open up now!”, Buckeye-Shaker Square residents held a rally Tuesday, May 11 calling for the reopening of their local post office branch, which closed suddenly following a robbery six months ago and has not reopened since then.

“This branch is vital to the community, from seniors getting their prescriptions refilled to businesses that use it,” said Ward 6 council member Blaine Griffin, standing alongside neighborhood residents. “Everyone is not plugged in with the digital divide. This is just another example of benign neglect in the Buckeye-Shaker neighborhood.”

The branch, which is located on East 130th St. just north of Buckeye Rd., was robbed on Friday, November 27, and closed temporarily. According to Griffin, despite repeated attempts to reach the postal service and get an explanation as to why it has not reopened, no information has been provided. “The problem is there’s been no communication,” he said. “Nobody’s giving us any answers. It’s just complete silence.”

The nearest post office locations to the Buckeye-Shaker Square community are now East 101st Street and Chester Avenue and Warrensville Road in Shaker Heights, which are several miles away. Many residents do not have cars and there is no direct bus service to these locations.

U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown sent a letter to the Buckeye-Shaker Square community stating, “We know that the post office has faced many challenges in the past year, and we’re working to advocate for new USPS leadership that understands how vital the post office and daily mail service are to communities all over the country. I know that the postal branch on East 130th was important to residents, and I will continue to join with the many customers in calling for the timely reopening of that branch.” 

The press conference was supported by Burten, Bell, Carr Inc., Shaker Square Alliance, and Organize! Ohio. According to a press release from Organize! Ohio, “Residents had earlier worked with former Congresswoman Marcia Fudge to update the post office by investing in a new HVAC system, a new roof, paving of the parking lots, and updating the interior of the building, with more than $300,000 spent improving the post office.”

Buckeye-Shaker Square residents spoke up about the need to reopen the branch. “I walk here, my neighbors walk here, it’s gone, and it needs to be replaced now,” said Peggy Gallagher. 

“A lot of people in the neighborhood have no cars,” added Bob Render of East 130th Street, who noted that residents had fought against closure of the E. 130th St. post office more than a decade ago. “It’s inexcusable. They know this is a challenged neighborhood. There’s an element of race in everything. They would not have done this in the suburbs.”

Lee Chilcote is a freelance writer and editor of The Land.

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