Terra Ceia Island post office gets new lease on life

TERRA CEIA -- The Terra Ceia Island post office will continue disseminating mail and acting as the daily meeting place for island residents for years to come, a congressman said today.

The U.S. Postal Service signed a five-year extension to lease the building that houses the post office for this northern Manatee County community, U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan's office announced.

The only service provided by the Postal Service in the old building is mail delivery through post-office boxes.

The change of heart by the Postal Service followed a series of public meetings at which residents sought continued use of the old building west of U.S. 19.

A year ago, Postal Service leaders said they no longer wanted to use the old building, and would seek an alternative. One site talked about was a shut-down store that sold citrus along U.S. 19, but it was across the busy highway from the inhabited enclave on the island.

According to a press release from Buchanan today, the congressman contacted the Postal Service last year when it was announced the old building would be closed, and island residents might have to travel to an alternative site or even Palmetto to pick up mail.

"A post office is more than a convenient place to buy stamps and mail packages," Buchanan was quoted in the press release. "It is part of a community's identity, and a gathering place for local residents."

Buchanan applauded the Postal Service for working to meet the needs of the community.

The new lease will take effect on March 1 and remain in effect until the end of February 2014.