Open for business

 A little over two years after its predecessor was destroyed in a December 2018 arson fire (picture inset), the new Almena Post Office opened for business Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Photo by Bob Zientara

Buying stamps, mailing cards, letters and packages, and gathering incoming mail from about 50 post office boxes, are back in Almena again, nearly 25 months after a December 2018 fire that gutted the old building.

The new Almena Post Office is located on Soo Avenue next to the Almena Village Hall. Postal workers include Carla Miller and Angela Catron (who is permanently assigned to the Almena facility).

Full-service hours are offered from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Saturday.

The reopening of a postal facility at Almena means that local services will be available to village residents for the first time since an arson blaze gutted the old post office building Saturday night, Dec. 8, 2018.

According to law enforcement and court records, two juveniles were prosecuted for the offense, but were never named in court records, because of their age. Almena residents were asked to use the Barron Post Office instead.

After it surveyed the Almena area, the U.S. Postal Service announced (in 2019) that it planned to return a full-service postal facility to the village of Almena.

In late 2019, the Almena Village Board agreed to use $120,000 of undesignated cash reserves to build the new Post Office, and to lease it to the Postal Service at a fee of $8,800 per year. Village leaders said that the lease payments will be used to replenish the village’s cash investment in the building.

Clayton-based Berghammer Builders broke ground on the new, 30-by-30-foot building in fall 2019. Equipped with a heated floor, the building was completed in early spring 2020, and the Postal Service hired the same contractor (Berghammer) to finish the interior, with post office boxes, a counter area and other facilities.

Postal authorities said they hoped the new Post Office could reopen before the end of last year, but the plans were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, which cut down on available staff time.