Residents and business owners will have their chance tonight to voice their support of or opposition to the proposed closure of the historic Fifth Street post office.

The U.S. Postal Service will hold a community meeting at the Ken Edwards Center at 5 p.m. to hear comments about the closure. The center is located at 1527 Fourth St., Room 106.

Postal officials have plans to shutter the art deco building that has been serving customers since 1934 and consolidate operations at the Santa Monica Carrier Annex Building, located at 1653 Seventh St.

Postal officials said if the consolidation is approved there will be no impact on deliveries and no change to post office box numbers or zip codes. The Fifth Street building would most likely be sold.

The Postal Service is struggling with significant losses — more than $25 billion over the past five years as more people move away from “snail mail” and do most of their communication via the Internet. The recession didn’t help, nor did a mandate passed by Congress in 2006 that the Postal Service pre-pay health benefits for future retirees for the next 75 years, and do so within the next 10 years at a cost of $5.5 billion annually.

Those fighting to save post offices said if that mandate was reduced, the Postal Service could be operating with a significant surplus instead of a drowning deficit.

Written comments regarding the consolidation can be submitted to:

Diana Alvarado

Pacific Facilities Service Office

U.S. Postal Service

1300 Evans Ave. Ste. 200

San Francisco, Calif. 94188-8200

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