ALSTON - Nisula residents will take a post office with fewer hours over no post office at all.
Of the 54 people who responded to a recent post office survey, 48 were in favor of an option where the daily hours dropped from 6.25 to four.
The other six respondents made no selection.
Garrett Neese/Daily Mining Gazette
Post plan coordinator Kim Gill of the U.S. Postal Service discusses survey results regarding future options for the Nisula post office with residents in Alston Tuesday. Users of the Nisula post office overwhelmingly backed an option to reduce the post office’s hours to four hours a day rather than close it.
U.S. Postal Service representatives presented the results at a planning meeting in Alston Tuesday night; a similar meeting was held later that night in Pelkie.
Three other options, each involving a study of discontinuing the office, received no votes.
In one, there would be roadside mailbox delivery, with retail and delivery service provided through a rural carrier. In another, the post office functions would be handled by a contractor at an alternative location, such as a business. In the last option, P. O. Box service would be provided through a nearby post office.
The survey results make the four-hour choice a near-certainty, said post plan coordinator Kim Gill.
"The community told me through the surveys that they wanted to keep their post office open with four hours a day window hours," she said. "If you would have chosen option two, three or four ... that would be the option that we would be looking at pursuing."
Other communities have been making the same choice, Gill said. Of 47 communities in the Upper Peninsula that have taken the survey, only one was split between reducing hours and closing the branch.
The likely retail hours for the branch would be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. Saturday service hours would remain at 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Street delivery will not be affected, Gill said.
The post office would also keep its 24-hour lobby availability.
The process of reviewing the post offices began in 2011, when Nisula was named as one of four Copper Country post offices being considered for consolidation as part of the U.S. Postal Service's effort to cope with dwindling visits.
Within a week of Tuesday, Gill will post the final decision in the Nisula post office. If the reduced hours are chosen, they would not take effect until sometime in mid-to-late January.
Gill said the postal service revisits the status of post offices every two years.
"If the revenue were to increase, or mail were to pick up, there is a chance the office could extend its hours," she said.
Nisula resident Sylvia Wentela's mother was the longtime postmaster for Nisula. She said she's happy to see a focal point for the community remain.
"At times, it feels like the heartbeat of our community, where you have a place to gather," she said. "So I'm glad we have a place that's up and running."
Additional meetings will take place at 4:30 p.m. today in White Pine at the Konteka Conference Room and 5:30 p.m. Nov. 28 in Bergland at the Bergland Township Hall.