The Munds Park post office has reopened after a challenging few weeks for many in the small community whose daily life depends on mail.
A new contractor is running the office in the northern Arizona town, and the U.S. Postal Service expects full operations to resume next week.
Mail services came to a sudden stop on July 1 after an argument erupted between the Flagstaff postmaster and the woman who formerly ran the Munds Park station, a spokesperson for the Coconino County Sheriff’s Office said. Town residents, some of whom stop at the post office every day, found out the building had closed for “emergency” reasons from a letter taped to the door.
For two weeks, residents were asked to travel 20 miles north to pick up letters and packages from a Flagstaff mail truck. Long lines formed in the parking lot where people waited in the summer sun until the Postal Service supplied shade tents and water. A local church even started its own mail courier service, aiding elderly residents and others inconvenienced by the move.
Allison Tiffany stopped by the post office in the early days of the reopening and saw a mountain of packages, she said. Tiffany has helped organize the effort to bring mail services back to Munds Park and broke the news to community members about the new contractors on Facebook. Employees needed a few days to sift through the onslaught of mail, Tiffany said, but since then, “things have gone amazingly well.”
“They sent their A-team down to remedy the situation,” she said.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema and Rep. Tom O’Halleran also worked with federal officials to restart mail service and relay the community’s concerns. Sinema noted that mail service is vital during the pandemic, when people across Arizona have forgone shopping trips and relied on delivery for essential goods.
“Reopening the Munds Park post office ensures local residents will continue to have access to critical services,” she said in a statement this week.
According to Sinema’s office, the Postal Service secured a new contractor on July 16.
With mail service up and running, Tiffany said the next challenge is straightening out how retailers and Munds Park residents address mail to P.O. boxes, which are the only way townspeople can receive mail. Packages have to be precisely labeled — to a point that stores and online ordering systems often fumble a correctly-entered address.
“It’s a ridiculous problem,” she said. “I cannot tell you the amount of packages that get lost and sent back.”