SHREWSBURY, Massachusetts – The continuing saga of the USPS sorting facility has taken another turn today, as spokesmen announced that the Shrewsbury site will be among those set to close in a cost cutting measure. Initially, there had been multiple facilities on that list, and it had been said all along that in the end they would whittle it down to a few, and sadly ours made the list. This comes as a blow to over 500 employees currently working at the facility, who hopefully will find other open positions which they can apply for within the USPS. No date has been set for the ultimate closure.
Clearly, nobody wants to see the closure of a large facility in their hometown, and the jobs that ultimately go with it. We saw that last year with the closure of the newly renovated Charles River facility on South Street. That said, the question of what will ultimately become of the land and buildings has come up over and over again, as has the speculation of what that will eventually mean for the town of Shrewsbury. As a governmental facility, the current postal center pays no property taxes. Rumored potential future owners of the facility such as Federal Express and UPS would, as private companies, pick up the full property tax burden for the property, which is sure to be assessed in the millions, and thus would generate added substantial revenue for the town – something critical as all communities face their own budget issues.
Last year, the town held a special town meeting which rezoned the property for commercial use. Knowing that the potential closure might happen, and not wanting to see 100+ single family homes, they took this unusual action, so any future purchaser would likely have to comply with that commercial intent. Could this mean more jobs, as well as more revenue, for the community? Only time will tell.