Allerton postmaster cuts lobby hours, blaming Heritage students

Allerton postmaster cuts lobby hours, blaming Heritage students

ALLERTON — The post office in one of the area's tiniest towns is discontinuing 24-hour lobby service — and not due to a lack of foot traffic.

In fact, said Laura Gardner, postmaster of the Vermilion County village of Allerton (pop. 283), the building has attracted too many visitors. Problem is, many of them aren't customers but students in the Heritage school district, which — for the short term — has a bus stop near the post office.

In a letter to Allerton residents, Gardner said the building has experienced everything from littering and spitting to willful destruction of post office property and the tracking in of dirt and mud.

"Conduct such as a thousand push-pin holes in lobby signage to multiple incidents of backpacks left in the lobby that closed the post office until postal inspectors from Springfield could arrive, X-ray the backpack and give the all clear," the letter stated.

Heritage Superintendent Tom Davis said he is recommending the district move the Allerton bus stop to the nearby park pavilion.

But Davis also said he disagreed with "much" of Gardner's letter, which stated that the post office has tried to work with the district repeatedly since last December and that Heritage encouraged students to wait for the bus in the always-open lobby. (It will now be locked between 4 p.m. and noon the next day, Gardner wrote).

Gardner also alleged that postal customers frequently had to park far away because the spots close by were tied up by parents waiting for the bus. Davis, however, said bus stops last only a few moments.

"Our bus drivers are there, and there are cameras in the bus," Davis said. "If anything happened, they would call us immediately."

Heritage school board member Darrin Tate agreed with Davis' suggestion to move the Allerton stop, adding: "If anyone asks, tell them we were asked to move by the post office."

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