Postal Service works to fill gaps in Steamboat, considers delivering to cluster boxes in Alpenglow Village |

Postal Service works to fill gaps in Steamboat, considers delivering to cluster boxes in Alpenglow Village

Officials with the U.S. Postal Service say the Steamboat Springs Post Office has hired new contract drivers, brought in a custodian from Alamosa to help clean up and will hold a job fair Feb. 25 in Steamboat Springs to try to get the local post office back on track.
John F. Russell/Steamboat Pilot & Today

For more than two years, the Yampa Valley Housing Authority has been working to get mail delivered to the cluster boxes at Alpenglow Village, which was completed in fall 2020. Now, it seems, the issue has earned the the attention of the U.S. Postal Service.

“I would like to say I’m optimistic about it, and the fact that they were able to get Sunlight Crossing up and running for our residents is a good sign,” said Alyssa Cartmill, the housing authority’s regional property manager. “The phone calls that I have recently received and the emails I’ve been getting are positive.”

In the past, Cartmill has worked with Sen. Michael Bennet’s office, Routt County Commissioner Tim Corrigan, Steamboat Springs City Council President Robin Crossan and Steamboat Springs City Manager Gary Suiter. Suiter even wrote a letter hoping to help residents of Alpenglow Village get their mail.

Cartmill said many Alpenglow Village residents have been paying for P.O. boxes or have resorted to sharing an address with friends in order to get their mail.

However, she was hopeful Tuesday, Feb. 14, that residents would soon be getting mail in the cluster boxes, which have been unused since the complex opened.

Cartmill said that James Boxrud, a communication specialist for the Postal Service, has kind of stepped in and is helping the housing authority follow up with Alpenglow.

“I think James has been beneficial because he’s asked us about what’s coming down the pipeline,” Cartmill said. “So as we’ve got Anglers 400 coming and in Mid Valley, he is helping us understand what we need to do to better help (the Postal Service) make sure that we don’t have these gaps between move-in day and the start of Postal Service.”

Cartmilll said that weather permitting, Anglers 400 should be completed this year, and the Mid Valley housing project is slated to begin in 2024.

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“We are currently evaluating the various criteria for the Steamboat Springs P.O. box holders that take into account local laws, physical barriers, access to rural delivery and reviewing who is eligible for Group E — which would be our free, no fee P.O. boxes — in the future,” Boxrud said. “My understanding is we’re going to request an address listing from Yampa Valley Housing Authority, so that route will be put on the list because that should have been an established delivery.”

He added that the Postal Service has put together a team looking at routes and how to best serve customers.

“We are going to be looking at all of those delivery points with this team of people to provide the service that people deserve,” Boxrud said. “This is part of our comprehensive efforts to normalize our operations and improve our overall customer service.”

He added that the Postal Service is required to deliver to every address in the United States.

He said that rural routes and delivery to cluster boxes in Steamboat Springs are free, but residents who have access to cluster boxes but choose to have their mail delivered to a P.O. box in town will pay a fee. Oak Creek and Hayden residents do not pay those fees because they don’t have any other options.

Boxrud said that those fees help the Postal Service cover costs. Many residents who get their mail in boxes in Steamboat may have noticed that the cost of a P.O. box has increased.

“As part of our Delivering for America, 10-year plan to achieve financial sustainability and service excellence, the Postal Service adjusted market dominant prices on Aug. 29, 2021, for Forever Stamps and other products and services including some P.O. boxes. Even with the increases, U.S. Postal Service prices remain among the world’s most affordable,” Boxrud said. “For our competitive products, including some P.O. boxes, in order to remain competitive and cover our own costs, a price change across our competitive products took effect on Jan. 24, 2021.”

Items taken into consideration for this price change included prices charged by local competitors for comparable services, consumer demand and the cost of doing business — fuel, transportation, utilities and health care benefits — all of which have continued to increase.

The P.O. box issues are the latest in a long list of challenges the Postal Service has faced in Steamboat Springs.

Last week Steamboat Springs joined a lawsuit along with other Colorado mountain communities against the Postal Service. Boxrud stressed that the Postal Service is working to rectify the issues and recently hired new contract drivers for routes in Steamboat. However, until those drivers can get up to speed at the end of the month, the local office has borrowed people filling in the gaps. That includes a custodian from Alamosa who is working to clean up and maintain the downtown location until a new contract worker can fill that position.

The Postal Service, which has been faced with staffing shortages since December, also identified three candidates for positions in Steamboat. Two decided not to follow through, and the other will be offered a position.

In an effort to fill more positions, the Postal Service is sending five individuals from its workforce planning group to help interested applicants go through the hiring process during a career fair in Steamboat.

That fair will be from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Steamboat Springs Post Office. Potential applicants can also go on and apply there as well.

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