LEMPSTER — Residents are voicing their objections after recent notices sent to post office box customers declared that the Lempster U.S. Post Office will be temporarily moving its operations to the Marlow Post Office located at 842 Route 10.
The following letter was sent to box holders:
“As you may be aware the building in which the Lempster, New Hampshire, 03605 Post Office (PO) is located at 767 Route 10 in Lempster, New Hampshire, is not owned by the United States Postal Service (USPS). As a result of circumstances beyond our control, USPS is temporarily moving postal operations and services for customers in Lempster, New Hampshire, to the Marlow Post Office, located at 842 Route 10 in Marlow, New Hampshire, 03456.”
The last day of operation in Lempster was Friday, June 26.
Over the last nine months there were many posts on social media about the U.S. Post Office searching for a new site in town. This sudden departure came as a surprise to some postal customers.
Box holders will keep their same current address and use the same keys in Marlow. Rural delivery in the community will not change. The notice also detailed the operating hours at the new location.
The U.S. Post Office leased space in the building formerly owned by Lempster Common Associates. The one story building was constructed by them in 1990 on a 4.6-acre parcel of land. The business had a storied past of internal litigation which led to its dissolution and a foreclosure on the property. It was sold at auction on August 16, 2012, to the Lempster Community Church.
The church assumed the ongoing lease agreement with the postal service. The existing lease was to expire on June 30. The church was contacted by JLL Property Management in 2018 laying out their terms for a renewal. A complex negotiation took place ending with the church council voting not to renew the lease. A letter was sent by their attorney to the leasing company on August 16, 2019, stating, “they do NOT intend to renew the lease as they wish to use the entire building for church purposes.”
A parade of postal service cargo vans and a large Ryder truck appeared early in the day on Friday and by 11 a.m. there was a large opening where the post office boxes were removed. The Lempster Post Office had 224 rented boxes with only a few vacant and the highway contract route delivers to 280 rural customers.
One postal customer who lives on the north end of town where rural delivery is not available complained on Facebook that a round trip to Marlow would take 45 minutes. Many others are commenting on social media and fear that this move will become permanent.
State Representative Judy Aron (Sullivan County District 7) of Acworth, the Lempster Selectboard and a member of the congressional delegation have been trying to resolve this situation.