FAIRMONT - Four area post offices are on a list of 3,600 nationwide that could be closing.
The Postal Service released the list Tuesday.
Among the post offices are Granada and Alpha, and Dolliver and Ledyard in Iowa.
All 50 states face post office closures. With more communications and bill-paying becoming electronic, the Postal Service has seen a decline in use. In fiscal year 2010, it suffered an $8.5 billion loss, compared to a loss of $3.8 billion the prior year.
According to Pete Nowacki, a spokesman at the U.S. Postal Service in Minneapolis, all of the post offices listed fell into some key categories.
"There are 88 being considered in Minnesota, and about 3,600 nationwide," he said.
But just because these post offices are listed does not mean it is a done deal.
"Each one will stand on its own merit," Nowacki said. "We take measurement of the workload on each office, the number of boxes we rent and deliveries made. The ones that are listed are on the low ends, and we're seeing that because people are not using the offices as much anymore."
Specifically, some of the criteria used in making the list includes post offices with less than $27,500 in annual revenue, or two hours of workload daily. Also considered are post offices with less than $1 million in annual revenue, but with five or more postal service locations within half a mile.
"It will be a time-consuming process," Nowacki said. "First, we'll be reviewing the numbers, and we will hold a public meeting, and get comments from customers and the community. We will take all of that into consideration."
Even if a post office is closed, it won't happen immediately. Nowacki said closures will be announced, and there will be a waiting period to follow. The earliest closings are expected to begin around December.
Even with a closed post office, it does not mean a town will lose postal service. One option touted to fill the gap, more than 2,500 so-called "village post offices" may be created in grocery and convenience stores in the next year.
"The village is a viable option, where there is a cafe or a convenience store that would be interested in contracting with us," Nowacki said.
As for deliveries, some of those details are still hazy, although it is suspected other remaining post offices would take up the routes.
Officials also have said that with the downsizing, the Postal Service will try to preserve local town identities by maintaining their names and zip codes, while continuing to deliver mail through nearby facilities.