Saving the Downtown Post Office

As part of the upcoming renovation of the Madison Municipal Building, the United States Post Office that has been located in the building for several decades will need to be relocated, at least temporarily. The initial proposal by the United States Postal Service was to permanently relocate the downtown post office to the current location of the post office annex on the 700 Block of East Washington Avenue.

Due to an outpouring of opposition to that proposal, including a statement from Capitol Neighborhoods, a letter from Senator Tammy Baldwin, and a large turnout of concerned residents and businesses at a public meeting in February, the Postal Service appears to have backed away from the proposal and is seeking temporary space on or near the Capitol Square. However, the question remains of whether the post office will return to the Municipal Building following renovations.

The Municipal Building first opened in the 1920s specifically to serve as the Madison Post Office and Federal Courthouse. Although the courthouse was relocated many years ago, the post office has remained an important fixture in downtown Madison and the central business district. The post office serves as a critical resource for downtown residents and businesses, especially small businesses that rely on a post office box to conduct business.

The downtown post office is also historically important to the city and the state. In 2005, Congress designated the post office as the Robert M. La Follette Sr. Post Office in honor of the former Governor and Senator. If the Postal Service and the City of Madison decide not to return the downtown post office to the Municipal Building following renovations, the permanent location of the post office should be on or near the Capitol Square and in a building that respects and carries forward the historical significance of the downtown post office.

Posted in Newsletter.