Hours before closure, Post Office says Cortez facility will operate through October

Cortez Post Office
Vern Buchanan expressed hope a permanent solution will be announced net week.

A Cortez post office will remain open — and plans to close the facility may get put off indefinitely.

U.S. Rep. Vern Buchanan announced the Manatee County facility, which had been expected to close permanently Friday, instead will continue to do business at least until the end of October. Suncoast Postal District Manager Stephen Hardin called the Congressman today with the news.

“I am pleased to see the Cortez post office remain open for now,” Buchanan said. “This offers local residents, many of whom are elderly, a reprieve from any undue burden closing this facility would have caused as the Postal Service works on a more permanent solution.”

Moreover, Hardin signaled a different long-term plan could develop. He said an agreement on what happens to the facility has been reached and that parties are “optimistic there will be a long-term solution next week.”

Buchanan, a Longboat Key Republican, wrote a letter to the Suncoast District on Oct. 8 lobbying against the closure of the facility because of an expired lease and a notice of eviction by land owners.

“My constituents, many of whom are elderly, would have to cross the bridge in heavy seasonal traffic to Bradenton Beach or travel more than five miles to the next closest post office,” Buchanan wrote, regarding the potential closure of the Cortez office. “Furthermore, they say there is no carrier delivery in the area served by this post office.”

An eviction notice has been served on the post office, and landlord John Banyas initially expressed no desire in renewing a lease, the AMI Sun reported this month. In a court document, Banyas said he was upset at poor maintenance, noting he had been sued by a man injured by a fallen flagpole at the facility that the government failed to maintain.

Buchanan expressed some confidence based on developments Friday that the matter could be resolved.

“I appreciate the Postal Service for hearing the concerns of local residents and their efforts to keep the Cortez post office open going forward,” he said.

Jacob Ogles

Jacob Ogles has covered politics in Florida since 2000 for regional outlets including SRQ Magazine in Sarasota, The News-Press in Fort Myers and The Daily Commercial in Leesburg. His work has appeared nationally in The Advocate, Wired and other publications. Events like SRQ’s Where The Votes Are workshops made Ogles one of Southwest Florida’s most respected political analysts, and outlets like WWSB ABC 7 and WSRQ Sarasota have featured his insights. He can be reached at [email protected]



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