Alorton, Cahokia, Dupo post offices closed for mold problems

News-DemocratAugust 6, 2013 

The U.S. post office buildings in Alorton and Cahokia are closed until further notice. And last month, the Dupo facility was closed as well.

According to the Postal Service, which posted signs on the buildings instructing customers to go to other area post offices for service, those locations had to be closed because of high levels of mold in the buildings. At the Dupo facility, inspections found mold in the heating and cooling system.

Milberta Henderson, 81, who uses a motorized scooter, came to the Alorton Post Office on Tuesday and was surprised to find it closed.

"I came to buy money orders," she said. "I am upset. They should have let people know they were going to close it. That's a business place."

There was no indication of when the facilities in Alorton or Cahokia will reopen or how much it would cost to clean up the mold.

Valerie Welsch, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Postal Service, said the Dupo facility was closed July 13. She said the necessary repairs are being done and the facility will reopen soon.

Ronnie Robinson said he had been at the Alorton post office every day last week to get mail from his post office box, and no one told him the office was shutting down.

"When I went there Saturday, a guy told me the post office was closed because there was mold in the building and a sign was on the door saying we should go to East St. Louis to pick up our mail," Robinson said.

He said he is angry because he was not told he would have to drive to East St. Louis to get his mail.

After he arrived there, he had to stand in line behind five people only to be told he did not have any mail.

"I pay for a P.O. box. I have a key. I should be able to go to the box and use my key," he said.

For Henderson to visit the East St. Louis office, she said she would have to board three buses while in her scooter.

"It would be a big inconvenience," she said.

"There's too many people out here who use that postal facility. It shouldn't have closed. I want it to hurry and reopen. There are no cabs or anything out here to transport us to other places. It's like they are trying to make it as hard as they can for us," Henderson said.

Welsch said after a safety air quality inspection was done at the Alorton and Cahokia facility, "an independent contractor who tests for us found out there are unnecessary molds at those stations.

"We put an emergency suspension on those offices -- a temporary closing." The results of the test came back Friday.

She said someone from the regional office will contact the building owner, which Reed said is the village of Alorton and given the opportunity to fix the issues. If the village does not want to make the repairs, Welsch said he post office would look to open at a different site.

Alorton Mayor JoAnn Reed said the note on the door told patrons the post office was closed for maintenance reasons.

"They are our tenants. We were not told anything about this. If there were problems, you have to make your requests known. We were given no opportunity to comply with any maintenance concerns. I think they did it this way because they want to avoid a fight with the citizens. But, it won't be avoided here," Reed said.

"Alorton is one of the poorest communities in the state of Illinois. Incomes here are very low. By far, we are the neediest village. The folks here don't have a way or the means to go to East St. Louis or Fairview Heights ... to get their mail."

Reed called what post office officials did, "blatant disrespect for the citizens who live here and who use that post office."

Postal employees came out Tuesday to talk to Reed. She said what angered her most was the lack of communication between the office and village leaders.

Reed said postal employees should have let the village know about the inspection.

Reed said Tuesday that postal employees acknowledged they should have done a better job of communicating with village residents and they assured her they would work with her and the village would be given the opportunity to the necessary repairs.

Attempts to reach Cahokia Mayor Gary Cornwell for comment were not successful.

The Postal Service in on a pace to lose more than $5 billion nationwide this year and has considered making cuts to Saturday mail delivery and door-to-door delivery, as well as by closing locations and cutting jobs.

Contact reporter Carolyn P. Smith at 618-239-2503.

Belleville News-Democrat is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service