After a lot of heat from residents, business owners and lawmakers, the U.S. Postal Service is rethinking shutting down more than 3,700 rural post offices across the country, including more than 150 here in West Virginia.

Cathy Yarosky, with the USPS, says the agency has established the Post Plan.

"It’s designed to preserve our rural post offices and do so by modifying our retail hours to match our customer use," says Yarosky.

To find out what that usage is for small, rural post offices, the USPS has already or will be sending out a letter to all impacted Postal Service customers giving them information about the Post Plan and four options for the postal facility in their community.

"Keep the post office open with reduced hours. Close the post office and offer curbside delivery. Establish a village post office," say Yarosky. "Or close the post office and provide post office box service at another nearby post office."

At some point between now and 2014, the USPS will hold community meetings for all 3,700 rural post offices to explain the plan in more detail and answer questions from residents about what they want to see.

Yarosky stresses, before the meeting ever takes place, residents will receive that letter and survey which needs to be returned by the date requested.

"By that time, the [Postal Service] will have had all the surveys back and will be able to present what the residents of that particular community prefer," says Yarosky.

The postal officials heading up the meetings will go over the results of the survey and hand out information sheets on all the data collected from that postal community.

On Wednesday, the USPS will hold Post Plan meetings for the communities of Asbury and Crawley in Greenbrier County, Greenville in Monroe County and the Fayette County community of Winona. An Oct. 11 meeting is set for the Lookout post office in Fayette County.

Yarosky stresses those impacted by the Post Plan need to be looking for that letter, read it carefully, send in the survey and then attend the meeting in their community.

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