Downtown postman marks last day as services head to Pemberton|[08/02/08]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, August 2, 2008

After eight years at Vicksburg’s downtown Post Office, Pat Pennington hung up his hat Friday to make the move to Pemberton Square Boulevard as the downtown branch prepares to shut its doors.

“It’s a sad thing, you know, but I guess the Post Office has gotta do what they gotta do,” said Pennington, who’s been the lone downtown postal employee for seven of his eight-year stretch.

Downtown postal offerings have consisted of a customer window and box service in the lower level of the building, which has no air conditioning or heating. The U.S. Postal Service has operated in the building since the 1930s.

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The five-story structure at 820 Crawford St. will remain open for another two or three weeks, said Pennington, while box records move to Pemberton. A luxury hotel is to be developed in the old building by Delta Court LLC.

Construction to make room for the boxes is under way at the Pemberton office. Numbers will remain the same once transplanted to the newer headquarters, built in 1992.

Efforts that began in February of this year to contract operator to continue postal services in the downtown area were unsuccessful.

Pennington has been a U.S. postal worker for 15 years. When he first arrived at the downtown location, he joined two other clerks. As downtown business slowed, the other clerks left, but Pennington remained.

The downtown postal space will be missed, said customer Charlene Jones Friday. “I’ll have to hit Pemberton from now on.”

“It’s a federal offense for this office to be this hot,” Jones said to Pennington. He replied, “I could tough out the heat and the cold to stay down here.”

“It’s been a real joyful atmosphere working with the customers,” he continued. “They make your day sometimes when it’s going badly.”