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CAROLINA SHORES—As efforts continue to secure a post office for the area, a local business owner said Tuesday he has been granted a contract postal facility.
Tommy Reeves, co-owner of Calabash Ace Hardware on Beach Drive at Clariday Road, said he was notified Monday by the U.S. Postal Service the store has been awarded a contract postal facility.
He said he hopes to have the facility operational within the next 45 to 60 days.
“It won’t be full-service,” he said. “It will be everything but post office boxes.”
Reeves said they’re also open to having post office boxes in the future, “because that would make it full-service,” he said.
But that, he said, would be up to the U.S. Postal Service.
“I have to do what they tell me to do,” he said.
At their Monday workshop and Tuesday meeting, Carolina Shores commissioners discussed petitions that continue to circulate to locate a full-service post office for southwest Brunswick County.
Town commissioner John Russo, who is leading the drive, said he met recently with Calabash Mayor Anthony Clemmons and Calabash commissioner Bill Dixon about the matter.
“We have agreed to work on this deal together,” he said. “It’s going to be a joint effort.”
He said both towns seek a post office.
“We’re not looking for a post office that says ‘Carolina Shores’ or ‘Calabash’,” Russo said, noting they want a facility that would be “available to all residents of this area of Brunswick County,” including Brunswick Plantation and Little River, S.C.
“What we want is a full-service post office, not this little 150-square-foot corner of the store,” Russo said. “I need as many signatures as we can get. It’s an election year. When [congressional candidates] see a petition, they see votes. So we need as many votes as we can get down on paper.”
Petitions continue to circulate at town POAs, local banks, clubs and town hall.
“We have petitions throughout this whole area now,” Russo said.
Russo said a contract facility isn’t what they want.
Carolina Shores Mayor Steve Selby reiterated that following Tuesday’s meeting after learning the hardware store has been awarded a contract.
“It’s not a full-service post office,” Selby said. “What they’re doing is a temporary fix. We want full-service rather than [in] a hardware store. Is someone going to sell stamps and nails at the same time?”
Reeves said he knows town leaders want a full-service post office.
“But I don’t think that’s what they’re going to get,” he said.
Commissioners informally agreed they need all the signatures they can get in order to garner the attention of congressional leaders.
“This is going to be a real political push,” said Russo, a retired postmaster. “The Post Office doesn’t want to spend money. The proper way to do this is to get our respective congressmen behind it and get them to push.”
Former town commissioner Don Hart, speaking at Monday’s workshop, said, “In order for you to get the number of people you’ve got to have, you’ve got to go door to door. There’s no other way to do it. The post office issue is a major issue. You’ve got to prove you’ve got the numbers to back it up.”
Selby said they would be looking for volunteers, who can contact Russo about securing blank petitions.
Russo said they also would like to ask POAs if they would send people around door to door.
If someone has already signed a petition, “it’s OK,” he said. “If they haven’t signed, get them to sign it.”
Russo estimated the area’s population will swell to around 12,000 people by 2012.
“If we don’t have a post office by then, I don’t know what we’re going to do,” he said. “We’re looking for as much help as we can by asking individuals to write your senators and congressmen and tell them what we want.”
Russo said the petitions will continue to circulate until the end of January.
A majority of commissioners also approved appointing Jonathan Miner, former commissioner Kathryn Powell and Jim Parsch to fill three vacant seats on the town’s planning and zoning board, upon the recommendation of commissioner Joseph Przywara, who serves as P&Z liaison.
Commissioners Gere Dale and Tom Puls voted against the appointments.
Dale said he does not know Miner, and the other two appointees ran unsuccessfully for local office in November.
“It tells me those two people were probably not [voters’] choices to be in the town government,” he said.
Dale said respective members of the planning board should be interviewed by all the commissioners. He said he also opposes a seven-member planning and zoning board and that it should be reduced to five.
Puls said having seven members is “overkill.”
Most planning boards, he said, only have five.
Town administrator Linda Herncane outlined concerns regarding a recent water outage. The town, she said, was not properly notified by the county that water needed to be boiled before using once water became available again.
She said she would like the board to approve a letter to be sent to Brunswick County outlining how “we should have been notified of this problem.”
Jerry Pierce, public utilities director for Brunswick County, said Tuesday the town was notified.
“We’ll be glad to talk to Carolina Shores about how to give them communication when we have these events,” he said.