ARIPEKA — Residents of this coastal community at the border of Pasco and Hernando counties have their post office back.
For the first time since the Aripeka Post Office closed 10 weeks ago because of increased leasing costs, the parking spots outside the small building were nearly full during a visit last week.
The post office, which reopened Monday, is shipping and receiving mail, meaning Aripekans no longer have to make the more than 10-mile trek to the next-closest post office in Hudson.
Other than changed locks on residents’ post office boxes and key replacements, everything is just about back to normal.
“I’m just glad it’s open again,” said Aripeka resident Tabatha Matassa.
Many in the community either did not have driver’s licenses or transportation, residents say, which made carpool mail drop-offs and pick-ups necessary for the village’s residents in recent weeks.
Christina Jones, who does have transportation, will not miss trips to the Hudson Post Office, she said, even with it being on the way home from work in New Port Richey.
“It’s going to be a lot more convenient,” she said. “I hated having to go there.”
Jones said she worried about going to a strange location at night. She also worried about her car being stolen or broken into, she said.
“I’m scared to go there at night,” she said.
The atmosphere at the village post office has returned, with residents peddling up on bikes and others, such as Charles Rogers, walking up with his beagle Emily.
“It’s a very good thing people don’t have to travel that far, because it’s a close-knit community,” Rogers said. “Everybody is really nice and friendly out here.”
Aripeka will celebrate the re-opening of its post office during a monthly pot luck dinner Monday at the Community Club, said resident Karen Smith.
“We are one of the only communities in the country to have saved our post office,” Smith wrote in an email, “and we know we didn’t do it alone.”