GANTT, AL (WSFA) - With the boom of technology, many old ways of life are becoming ways of the past. Such is the case with what is commonly referred to as 'snail mail'.
In the last 5 years, mail volume has declined by more than 43 billion pieces, forcing the United States Postal Service to take a close look at closing some offices. Two post offices in Covington County are under review, Gantt and Red Level.
Connie Cauthen has deep roots in Gantt. Her father was the town's first mayor. And she estimates her family has had a post office box for about 75 years. "My mother is 85 years old. It's hard to change things with her," Cauthen says. But that's not the only reason she wants to keep the doors open at Gantt's Post Office.
"We would lose the town's identity without a zip code."
Postal Service officials met with residents in Gantt, the first step to determining whether the post office should stay open. It's no secret the postal service has had its share of money trouble. By law, it cannot shurt down any post office for financial reasons alone. There are no routes out of Gantt's post office, but other communities – who's residents depend on their mail being delivered – are under review for possible closure.
Red Level is one of them. Mayor Mike Purcell says the town's downtown "needs revitalization badly", and closing the post office on the town's main road would hurt that effort.
"We have no businesses downtown," the Mayor says. "I don't think it's a message about the town or a message about the economy and the way our country's going right now."
And may serve as a sign that the post office as we know it, like almost everything else, is changing.
To be clear, there has been no decision to discontinue service at either post office. The Postal Service says a lot of data must be gathered to support a closure at the local level. It is then provided to the area office in Dallas and then USPS headquarters in Washington, DC for review and final determination. The whole process could take six months.