By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal
SMITHVILLE – The U.S. Postal Service has announced it will not rebuild its Smithville facility and will look for a contractor to house postal services in the tornado-devastated town.
The post office, along with most of the town, was destroyed during the April 27 tornado that claimed the lives of 16 Smithville residents.
Since the tornado, residents have been driving to Amory to pick up their mail and Smithville Mayor Gregg Kennedy and state Sen. Hob Bryan of Amory have been critical of how the Postal Service has handled the situation.
Postal Service spokesman Doug Kyle said requests for consideration for the contract to operate the post office are being accepted.
“We are hopeful that this first round of submissions will provide the required multiple prospects,” said Kyle.
Kyle said the U.S. Postal Service is looking for a party that already has a business presence in Smithville and will share some of its existing space for a postal retail operation and post office boxes.
“Theoretically, someone could operate just the postal operation by itself in a building,” said Kyle. “But the return on investment for a contractor is obviously much more attractive when they have other businesses bringing in revenue to help share and defray the overhead. And having the availability of a postal operation is a drawing card to customers for the other businesses.”
Kennedy said his town needs a post office and he hopes someone takes on the job.
From June 8 through close of business on June 22, the Postal Service will collect information to compile a source list of potential contractors, who will then receive an official packet of criteria and instructions for the contract process.
Submissions should be made by letter to Retail Manager, United States Postal Service, PO Box 99670, Jackson, MS 39205-9670; or by email to email@example.com.
Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or firstname.lastname@example.org.