Photo Credit: 
Chronicle photos by Lisa Carroll

MEDICINE PARK - Since last year the Town of Medicine Park has been working with the United States Postal Service in an effort to keep mail services local. Due to an expired lease extension, the USPS has notified residents that all services provided at the Medicine Park Post Office have been suspended as of Aug. 31. While the USPS will no longer be operating out of the building located at 191 E. Lake Drive in Medicine Park, one local business owner, Chad Thornton, has stepped up and offered an alternative solution.

Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 3, current post office box customers in Medicine Park will be able to use temporary boxes set up inside the Old Plantation Restaurant, located at 140 E. Lake Road. "These temporary P.O. boxes will serve as a means for customers to continue to be able to receive mail delivery while a permanent structure is put into place," said Lawton Postmaster JT Hoffman. "There is no need to change your current address as all mail will still be delivered as normal." While the temporary site doesn't allow for full retail services to be offered at this time, Medicine Park Mayor Jennifer Ellis said at least residents can retain their primary mail service. On Aug. 23, 2018, concerns were raised when USPS officials held an open forum at the town event center informing local residents about the looming lease expiration. A discussion was opened up about alternative building options and locals were able to express their concerns over the future move. At the time, USPS real estate specialist, Damian Salazar, informed the crowd that a re-location would be a necessary since the lease at the current location was set to expire on July 31, 2019.

Outlining two viable options for the relocation, Damian had explained that option A would allow the USPS to lease an existing facility with a minimum of 900 square feet and enough outdoor space that can provide at least 11 parking spaces. Although the previous post office was smaller in size at only 773 square feet, Damian said the USPS is looking toward a 10-year projected growth plan and want a larger facility so that they can accommodate the future growth of the town. Option B included leasing a land space with a minimum of 0.5 acres. With a ground lease, the USPS could easily move a modular or compact trailer to the location and provide the proper parking areas.

According to Mayor Ellis, the hunt originally began for a building to lease, but officials were unable to find anything suitable, she said. Looking at an option B, space was found next to the Medicine Park Event Center. It will now become the permanent location for the post office in town. The area is large enough for a portable building to be brought in, she said, has access to electricity, water and sewer connections, plus the outdoor capacity to provide the 11 parking spaces required by the USPS. The Town of Medicine Park is also currently working with Comanche County Memorial Hospital on building a rural health care facility that is planned to go in the same area, said Mayor Ellis. The future facility will be purchased using a grant previously provided by the Comanche County Industrial

Development Authority. The mayor said she estimates construction to begin later this year and finish by the early part of next year. While the new building for the post office is expected to be in place with full retail services available sometime in November, Mayor Ellis said she has even higher hopes for mail delivery in Medicine Park. "We've made a request to explore home delivery. We have one neighborhood in town with a Lawton address and they have home delivery," she said. "That would really be the best-case scenario for everyone, so we're working towards that goal." Until then, mail can be picked up daily between 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. at the Old Plantation Restaurant. Along with the temporary PO boxes, several larger parcel boxes are also available so customers can pick up oversized items. If items will not fit in the lockers, or if they are full, the USPS has advised that they will leave a notice and the parcel will need to be picked up at the main post office in Lawton, located at 501 SW 5th Street.

Questions or concerns about the post office move can be directed towards the Lawton Postmaster at (580) 353-1500.