June 18, 2018
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Lightning strike greets Bangor post office opening

By Judy Harrison, BDN Staff

BANGOR, Maine — The post office opened at 8 a.m. Tuesday in its temporary location in the Broadway Shopping Center even though its computer network, provided by AT&T, was downed 15 minutes earlier by a lightning strike.

Postal clerks had to determine the cost of mailing packages and large envelopes without the aid of computerized scales and machines to scan credit cards. The outage lasted about two hours, according to Postmaster Charles Gokas.

“The move went very smoothly,” he said shortly before 10 a.m. “People are pretty positive about this location.”

Information about the cost of renovating the Broadway location and the move was not available Tuesday.

The post office is expected to move this fall to its permanent home in the former District Courthouse on Hammond Street.

Penobscot County officials are negotiating a lease with the U.S. Postal Service, and renovations are well under way at the former courthouse, County Administrator William Collins said Tuesday afternoon.

How people felt Tuesday about the move appeared to depend on where they lived and worked. Those who lived closer to the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building at 202 Harlow St. preferred the former location. For others, the Broadway location was more convenient.

“I love it,” Kathy Vanadestine of Hartland said. “I pick up the mail for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints [at Grandview and Essex streets] where I work, so this is much more convenient.”

Mary Stockley, who lives on Court Street in Bangor, disagreed.

“I don’t like it; it’s too far,” she said. “It’s going to be a pain for a lot of people. The courthouse is going to be lot more convenient.”

Rep. Adam Goode, D-Bangor, said he liked having the post office in the strip mall, even though it is across town from his home and district.

“It’s close to Planet Fitness, where I work out, and my parents’ house,” he said, “and next to a grocery store.”

Steve Bray, the manager of the Hannaford Bros. store on Broadway, welcomed his “new neighbors” Tuesday morning with snacks and pastries. Bray said he was not worried about his customers losing parking spots to postal employees.

“People using the post office don’t stay very long,” he said. “I’m sure it’s going to create more foot traffic for the whole mall.”

Post office hours of operation at its new location will be 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday for the service window and 7 a.m.-6:30 p.m. daily for the lobby.

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