A flag and two mailboxes out front hint at what’s inside, but the Fair Haven post office hasn’t had identifying signage for about two years. That’s created the mistaken impression that the office is closed, says the frustrated local clerk.
What’s Going On Here? Read on. (Photo by John T. Ward. Click to enlarge.)
The facility, located in the River Road shopping center anchored by an Acme supermarket, had its sign removed as part of a makeover after the strip mall changed hands for $5.8 million in 2014.
New lettering for a sign was sent by the postal service, said Joe Shevlin, the lead (and only) clerk at the facility. But it couldn’t be installed over compliance issues, he said.
Postal service spokesman Ray Daiutolo told redbankgreen by email Wednesday that the agency’s signs are “generally boilerplate for a particular type of location (strip mall, standalone…),” but the one made for Fair Haven didn’t meet local code requirements.
The agency is “working to get a new sign made,” he said.
Shevlin said he’s been hearing that for months, and so has decided to make some noise about it, even though he “wouldn’t be surprised one bit if I get in trouble for talking about it.”
He said the public is being misled into thinking the post office moved out in the lead-up to or during the renovation work, as did several of its neighbors, including Bike Haven and Laird’s Stationery, which flanked the post office.
There’s not even a mention of the post office on signage along River Road that identifies the stores in the plaza, he said.
“I’m sure people have driven right by because they didn’t know we’re here,” Shevlin said. The sign removal “certainly hasn’t increased activity.”
Shevlin said he’s also concerned that a drop in traffic to the site might be used as a rationale not to renew the lease, which Daiutolo said is up in May, 2022.
He said he asked that a temporary banner that was removed when the final facade work was done be re-installed, but it was misplaced by the property owner, Fair Haven Retail LLC.
Shevlin said the property manager, Metro Commercial, has also been pushing for the proper signage, and even filed a lawsuit against the postal service over the issue. That action could not be located by redbankgreen, and Ryan Carnall, of Metro, did not respond to a voice message Tuesday.
Shevlin isn’t alone in his frustration. Carol Martin, a Red Bank resident who works for a Fair Haven attorney, says she’s in the post office daily, and thinks it’s “ridiculous” that the place isn’t marked.
“I’ve had people say to me, ‘it’s too bad the post office isn’t there anymore,'” she said. “I say, ‘it’s still there!'”
“It can’t be that involved,” said Shevlin. “We’re not splitting the atom here.”