LIBERTY - After a two-year process, a post office has returned to the township.
Liberty and U.S. Postal Service officials cut the ribbon Tuesday morning on a full-service post office inside the Giant Eagle grocery in Churchill Commons, 4700 Belmont Ave.
Liberty has not had a post office since the one in the administration building closed in 2008.
"Having a post office back in Liberty is huge," said township Trustee Chairman Stan Nudell, who made the issue part of his campaign in 2009.
Postal Service Retail Specialist Fran Dalpiaz said there was a good deal of contact with the Youngstown office demanding a return of localized service to Liberty. She conducted a study after Nudell contacted her, determined the need, and advertised for bids. The process of opening the site then took seven to eight months, Dalpiaz said.
The operating costs belong entirely to Giant Eagle, which also staffs the post office with its own employees, she said. The Postal Service only provides the necessary equipment and pays a slight compensation.
"It's a way for the postal service to provide greater accessibility to retail products," USPS corporate communications spokesman David Van Allen said.
One service the in-store post office does not offer is P.O. boxes. All mail from the site will be routed through the Youngstown office.
"I think we're leading the way for what needs to be done in our community," Nudell said.