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U.S. Post Office
The post office in Downtown Racine.

RACINE - The U.S. Postal Service plans to put the Downtown Racine post office on the market in the near future, part of an effort to cut costs to deal with "incredible financial challenges."

Postal service representatives will discuss the planned sale with city officials at a City Council meeting later this month, said Marge Oehlke, a spokeswoman for the postal service.

"At this time we need to right-size our operations," Oehlke said. The solution allows the postal service to "reduce operating costs, generate additional revenue ... and provide local municipalities with additional property tax revenue."

Nationally, the postal service reported a $1.9 billion loss in income during the first six months of 2010, according to Oehlke.

Locally, the Downtown post office, 603 Main St., has become too big for the work that continues to be done at the location, Oehlke said. Carriers were transferred out of the Downtown branch earlier this year.

If the sale goes through, nothing will change from customers' perspective, Oehlke said. If the postal service can find a buyer who accepts the conditions for the sale, Racine postal customers would still be able to buy stamps, mail and ship packages or rent post office boxes in the same building, Oehlke said.

The postal service would like to lease approximately 2,000 square feet of space from whoever buys the building. If that doesn't work out, officials will look to lease space somewhere else nearby, Oehlke said. She added that services will be maintained at other area facilities, including the West Racine site at 1300 Perry Ave.

The classical revival-style Downtown building was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1985. This post office was built at the same time as the Racine County Courthouse and Racine City Hall, in the late 1920s to early 1930s.

Postal service representatives are scheduled to discuss the sale with the City Council at 7 p.m. Aug. 17 in Room 205 at City Hall, 730 Washington Ave.

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