ALEXANDER — Residents in a tiny western Kansas community are concerned that if the U.S. Postal Service closes its post office, it would lead to the town's demise.
The post office in Alexander, a community of about 65 residents in southwest Rush County, is among 11 being considered for closure, a small part of the U.S. Postal Service's attempt to cut costs. The post office is one of two remaining businesses.
"I think if we lose the post office, this town probably will die," resident Rhoda Sherman said.
Postal Service spokesman Brian Sperry said no decision has been made.
Alexander is being considered for closure because of its proximity to the post office in Bazine. The postmaster's position is open as well, making it a convenient time to consider closing the post office, which conducts nine or fewer daily transactions.
Alton Huddleston said it's almost a certainty the post office will close, and he understands the need for the Postal Service to save money.
"They've got to cut some corners," he said.
Alexander's post office once thrived, but business quickly slowed after an antique shop that did much of its business through mail order moved to the north-central Kansas town of Wilson. Alexander also had its own bank until 1987, the fifth of five Rush County banks that closed in about two years.
Today, the bank building serves as the senior citizens center. A fourth of Alexander's residents are 65 or older.
"The only thing we've got left is the co-op," said resident Keith Schwindt.
If the Alexander Post Office is closed, mail would be handled through Bazine, with delivery to Alexander.
Alton Huddleston said the town of Alexander might be living on borrowed time, and that the community might be able to hang on for "another 25 years probably."