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Gilford officials still fighting for post office

May 20, 2009
The Board of Selectmen is not going to give up on getting a post office in Gilford, even after the original plans fell through.

"We have been working with Carlson Smith from Senator Shaheen's office," said Selectman Gus Benavides. "They sent us a letter saying that they haven't received a response from federal government either."

The idea of a post office in Gilford has been in process for years. Mike McGinley, a local developer, constructed a building that was specifically designed to meet the needs of a post office in the Gilford Commons. McGinley was in contact with the US Postal Service and was given to understand that there would be no problems moving to the new building.

Earlier this year, after the building was completed, the postal service decided not to move into the new building due to economic concerns. Attempted communication with the postal service from McGinley and the town has met with little or no response. McGinley said he couldn't understand the lack of response, considering it would cost the government nothing to move into the building. He even offered the building to the postal service for a year rent free.

"I will continue to fight this," said Selectman Kevin Hayes, "because quite frankly I am insulted that the government wouldn't give us a response."

"They wouldn't even respond to the senator's office," added Benavides.

The Board of Selectmen decided that they would continue to send letters until they receive a response from USPS. McGinley has decided to use the intended post office for something else and has received a change of use approval from the Planning Board for a medical/professional office building.

He wrote a letter to the Board of Selectmen saying that he would be happy to build a post office in another area of the commons, but he had to move on with this particular building. McGinley's new proposal is currently under consideration by the Planning Board and will reviewed June 15. The review was put on hold at the most recent Planning Board meeting to accommodate changes to the original plans.

"I am just going to express my unhappiness that with a town our size and the number of towns in the country that have a post office when you call a drop box place and give them your zip code they go 'Oh, Laconia?" said Selectman John O'Brien. "We have about 8,000 people in this town. We should continue to see what we can do."

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