The temporary closing of the Boiceville post office following Saturday service on September 7 is uncommon but not unprecedented, according to a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service’s Northeast Area.
“There are 32,000 Post Offices nationwide, including 365 throughout the Greater Hudson Valley,” noted George B. Flood in a statement this week. “Boiceville was temporarily suspended due to environmental issues. In response to reports of a foul odor at the Boiceville Post Office, we contracted an environmental specialist to perform tests to confirm the suspected source and the required remediation. The testing results will be given to the property owner, who is responsible for the remediation. In the interim, service at the Boiceville Post Office remains temporarily suspended with customer service operations shifted to the Shokan Post Office.”
The Boiceville post office is in a multi-storefront building at 4117 state Route 28, across from Onteora High School, alongside Good’s Luncheonette, Hong Kong Boiceville, and Miss Kitty’s Hair Salon. It sits adjacent to the former Singer-Denman hardware store, which has been looking for a new owner or renters for several years.
All are owned by Nancy Occhi of Boiceville Market, located across a small road from Singer-Denman in a small shopping plaza that also includes a pharmacy and liquor store. She said this week that she didn’t believe there was a mold problem at the post office, or in any of her buildings, but would go along with the testing.
None of the other businesses in the plaza with the post office have noticed any problems, and were still open this week.
DEP buyouts available
Boiceville has been the subject of much local scrutiny ever since the town was heavily flooded during the Irene tropical storm eight years ago. The Town of Olive has been undertaking a “visioning” process to determine whether the commercial center along Route 28 needs moving, as has happened in some other Catskills communities prone to flooding, to prevent further damage and rising insurance costs.
According to the town and New York City Department of Environmental Protection, there are 17 flood-ravaged properties in Boiceville that are eligible for buyout by the DEP. Upon purchase, the agency will condemn any structures on the parcels, tear them down, and turn ownership of the land over to the town.
Occhi said last winter that she does not want to take a buyout, has no idea where she could possibly move her business within the hamlet, and is waiting for more information on her limited options.
Mr. Flood, speaking for the Postal Service this week, said that the Boiceville post office’s 190 box customers will be able to get their mail at the Shokan Post Office with proper identification, and delivery will not be affected in any way. In the interim, he added, the facility’s postmaster, two part-time employees and two contract drivers have all been relocated to the post offices in Shokan and West Shokan.
The Shokan Post Office, at 3110 Route 28, operates from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 2:30 to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The West Shokan Post Office is at 4079 Route 28A. Its hours are 10 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m. weekdays, and 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.