© 2024 NPR Illinois
The Capital's Community & News Service
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

USPS approves changes to Springfield mail processing

A map shows the service territories for the new facilities

A controversial plan to shift area mail sorting from Springfield to St. Louis is moving forward. The U.S. Postal Service has announced the Springfield facility will become a Local Processing Center.

In recent days, similar processing and distribution centers in Peoria and Champaign were informed they would be reorganized as part of a national plan. Mail sorting that has occurred in those areas will be done in the south suburbs of Chicago.

Springfield is currently a Processing and Distribution Center. It takes in mail from post offices and collection boxes across a large part of central Illinois. But the USPS is reorganizing the P & DCs. Springfield will instead process mail to its final destination when it arrives from the regional sorting facility.

The change means a letter mailed in Springfield to a resident of the capital city would be sent to St. Louis before being shipped back for a local mail carrier to deliver. Still, the Postal Service says it will enhance efficiency and lead to financial savings. Agency estimates place that between $700,00 to $950,000 annually. There was no timetable announced for the plan.

Local residents and government leaders have raised concerns about longer delivery times and a loss of jobs. The USPS indicated there would be no layoffs, but some jobs would be impacted, meaning an employee might have to move to remain with the agency.

Most recently, Illinois Comptroller Susana Mendoza sent a letter to the Postmaster General Louis DeJoy. Mendoza pointed out her office sends checks from Springfield to various state vendors, including child care providers. She said any delays could bring hardship to those vendors.

After the news was released this week regarding the change, Mendoza responded. "I am very disappointed to learn the USPS has approved a plan to convert the Springfield Post Office into a local processing center and move distribution out-of-state to St. Louis. I requested an impact analysis of this proposal to ensure payments would not be delayed under the new system, as I am not convinced reducing the job of the Springfield Post Office and sending mail out-of-state, only to be sent back to addresses in Illinois will be more efficient. Regrettably, the opposite is more likely to be true."

Mendoza said her questions were left unanswered.

"How can anyone argue with a straight face that sending our mail – two-thirds of which is bound for Northern Illinois – 100 miles south to St. Louis before it can be shipped back north again will not delay delivery to Illinois residents?"

State Senator Doris Turner said the decision will have lasting effects on residents across central Illinois.  

“I joined hundreds of residents, postal workers and local elected officials at a town hall on March 26 to share our grave concerns about the proposal. USPS did not listen to our community. This will not only slow down mail delivery time, but also create life threatening hardships for those who rely on the mail service for their medication needs, especially our seniors." 

“Springfield is home to Illinois’ state government. Why are we delaying delivery of important documents by sending them to Missouri? This is a poor decision that will affect each and every one of us,” she added.

Congresswoman Nikki Budzinski (D-Springfield) also filed a resolution to prevent the changes.

The USPS has said it will invest in upgrades at the Springfield facility as it transitions to a Local Processing Center.

Related Stories