Inconvenient, but necessary

By: 
Chuck Kajer, The New Prague Times

“Out of an abundance of caution…”

So began a press release from the US Postal Service regarding the sudden closure of the New Prague Post Office, at 124 Main St. E.

Late on Friday, the postal service decided to suspend operations at the New Prague facility due to environmental concerns. At the time, postal officials didn’t say what the concerns were or how they were discovered. That’s because, they were not certain of what they were dealing with or what the extent of the problem might be.

That didn’t stop the speculation on social media, with people guessing it was mold, or anthrax, asbestos or any number of possibilities.

The postal service, along with the building owner, brought in an environmental specialist to assess the problem and come up with a mitigation plan to resolve the issue. On Monday, a postal official confirmed that the problem was asbestos in the flooring, a problem discovered during a remodeling project in the building. Crews worked to resolve the issue and the building is expected to reopen for business by the end of this week. Workers also made sure that anything that was in the building - including mail - was clean of any contaminants before it was sent out.

During the closure, New Prague’s Postal operations were relocated to the Belle Plaine Post Office, 14 miles away. While this was an inconvenience, New Prague Postmaster Jorg Lewis said in a press release “The safety of our employees and customers is paramount,” in explaining the move.

By the end of the week, it is expected that operations in New Prague will be back to normal. New Prague residents can be grateful that swift action was taken and the inconvenience was both minor and temporary, and we can appreciate that the facility has reopened.

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