Colorado U.S. Senator Michael Bennet is requesting the assistance of the United States Postal Service (USPS) to help reopen the post office as soon as possible in Jamestown that was badly damaged by flooding last September. Jamestown was one of the hardest hit communities when severe flash flooding swept through Colorado’s Front Range last year, leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in repairs and rebuilding in its wake.
In a letter to Postmaster General Patrick R. Donahoe, Bennet wrote, “I urge USPS to work with Jamestown to explore any and all innovative solutions to restore regular mail to this community. Reopening the post office will help the residents of Jamestown who are still struggling to recover from the floods. And it will also be an important symbol across the Colorado Front Range of the progress that Coloradans have made as we continue to rebuild from this tragedy.”
Bennet has worked closely with Governor Hickenlooper, state agencies, and the entire Congressional delegation since the flooding began to ensure that Coloradans have every resource needed to rebuild. In October, the senators helped lead a delegation-wide effort that successfully lifted the cap on the amount of emergency transportation resources Colorado could access to rebuild damaged infrastructure. Bennet also helped secure $62.8 million from HUD’s CDBG-DR program last year to finance ongoing flood recovery work in Colorado. He also led the Colorado delegation in urging the President to quickly declare an emergency when flooding began to ensure that emergency funding was available for response and recovery efforts.
Full Text of the Letter:
January 30, 2014
Dear Postmaster General Donahoe:
I write to request the Postal Service’s assistance in reopening the Jamestown, Colorado Post Office, which closed after devastating flooding last fall.
As you know, in September of last year, historic rains poured down on Colorado, leading to 500-year and 1000-year floods in a number of areas. These floods forced more than 18,000 Coloradans to leave their homes, damaging thousands of structures and hundreds of local businesses.
The floods hit Jamestown especially hard. I have personally visited this community, and seen the damage in the weeks immediately following the flood with my own eyes. I can tell you it looked like a bomb had gone off in that town. Jamestown was completely evacuated. The floods destroyed 20 percent of the town’s homes, 50 percent of its roads and both of its bridges. The storm obliterated Jamestown’s Main Street and literally pulled houses into streams. It also tragically killed Joe Howlett, age 72, a pillar of the Jamestown community.
In the months since the floods, the residents of Jamestown have worked around the clock with federal, state and local first responders to clear away the piles of debris and rebuild. The town has made amazing progress in just the past four months. About a third of the town’s 275 residents have moved back. Roughly another third of the town’s residents return on the weekends to rebuild.
As federal agencies work to continue supporting this community’s recovery, I ask that the Postal Service reopen the Jamestown post office as quickly as possible. Jamestown Mayor Tara Schoedinger reports that reopening the post office is an urgent priority for Jamestown’s recovery. The Post Office structure was badly damaged by the floods, but has since been repaired. The storm knocked out both the electrical and septic systems for the town, but remarkably, both are now back online. The town’s drinking water system will take many more months to bring back online. But I ask USPS to consider workarounds to bring the post office back online now. To offer one concrete example, Mayor Schoedinger has suggested that a cistern could perhaps be installed at minimal cost in order to meet the water needs of the post office.
I urge USPS to work with Jamestown to explore any and all innovative solutions to restore regular mail to this community. Reopening the post office will help the residents of Jamestown who are still struggling to recover from the floods. And it will also be an important symbol across the Colorado Front Range of the progress that Coloradans have made as we continue to rebuild from this tragedy.
Thank you for your consideration.