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Downtown post office closure would mean lost jobs — but a better arena view

With the recent news that Lincoln’s downtown post office is being considered for closure — and mail processing moved to Omaha — I have to wonder if arena planners aren’t privately jumping for joy.

Remember when the original arena plan called for the post office to move? That plan was scuttled due to concern that Lincoln would risk losing 200 postal jobs in the process. Given that the arena itself will only create about 60 full-time, permanent jobs, that seemed like a no-brainer.

But now, with the U.S. Postal Service suffering and looking to make cuts everywhere, the prospect of the downtown post office closing is very real (just ask the union members who were picketing at the post office a few weeks ago). The Postal Service is doing a six-week study to see if it would be feasible and cost-effective to move Lincoln mail processing operations to Omaha.

What are the odds that study will say YES! YES! YES!

Often, when city leaders catch wind that a major employer is thinking of moving, the mayor’s office moves, toot sweet, to try to convince them to stay. But in this situation, one has to wonder a) whether you can really convince the feds to do anything and b) whether the mayor’s office will want to make even a feeble attempt to change their minds.

Because face it, that big old post office is very much in the way of the arena development. Frankly, it’s going to look pretty stupid to have a spanking new arena sitting next to a dowdy, huge post office. But 200 well-paying jobs is nothing to sneeze at. I’d love to be a fly on the wall in the mayor’s office when this comes up.

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