Kauai residents fight to keep historic post office open

Kauai residents fight to keep historic post office open

LIHUE, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Residents on Kauai were going door-to-door Tuesday, fighting to keep the historic Lihue Post Office from closing.

They're hoping a public meeting Thursday might save the beloved building.

"It would be more than just losing a post office, it would be losing a monument," said Kauai County Councilman Derek Kawakami.

Kawakami added the Lihue Post Office isn't just a place to pick up your mail, but also a reflection of that small town charm that makes Kauai so special.

"We're still a place where we hear our news at the barber shop or the beauty salon. People will go to the bank and see each other and greet each other. It's the same thing with our post office."

Last month, the U.S. Postal Service proposed closing the Lihue Post Office on Rice Street and moving all operations to its annex facility, about a mile and a half away near Lihue airport.

The old post office has been a landmark on Rice Street since it opened in 1939, and is on both the State and National Registers of Historic Places.

A USPS spokesman said the move is a result of the Lihue postmaster wanting to better serve her customers, who regularly voice their frustration over the limited parking on Rice Street. He said no jobs will be lost because all employees would be relocated to the annex facility.

But those assurances haven't stopped the grassroots campaign from using the postal service to send a message -- to the postal service.

"We're distributing postcards people can send and some of our post cards are actually post-coconuts," said Pat Griffin, president of the Lihue Business Association and past chair of the Kauai Historic Preservation Review Commission.

Some question the timing of the postal service's plan -- and its focus on parking -- when the county is getting more than $13 million from the federal government to revitalize the core of Lihue with more sidewalks, bike paths, parking, and a transit hub.

"To be pulling out right when the U.S. Department of Transportation is investing so much in this area of our community was really shocking," Griffin said.

The public meeting on the issue is set for 6 p.m.Thursday at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall in Lihue.

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