By Kaye Collins
A ground breaking ceremony for the new Longs post office was held on Monday, June 26, at 10 a.m. making the two year wait for Longs residents to have an official building for their postal service needs. State, county and federal officials presented the new design that is twice the size of the previous building that burned to the ground on Friday, June 25, 2021.
American Postal Infrastructure, the agency what will own the new facility and rent it to the United States Postal Service hosted the ceremony.
“We appreciate the patience that the community and everybody else here has had and everybody in working with us as we got to this point since the original fire,” said American Postal Infrastructure CEO Jon Otterberg. “We understand that the population is growing immensely and we think that this Post Office at twice the size with the extra services that are going to help the citizens is going to be fantastic.”
The residents of Longs have been without a nearby location to meet their postal service needs. Many traveled to North Myrtle Beach for their postal services. Beginning in August 2021 the USPS provided a mobile unit for residents with mailing packages and overnight letters and purchase stamps or other postal needs. Post office boxes were placed at the site to meet the needs of local residents and businesses.
U.S. Representative Russell Fry spoke to special guests and residents stating that he pushed to have the facility rebuilt for the Longs community. “We heard from you when we were campaigning and then when we got into office we made the phone calls and they didn’t answer, so we kept calling.” said Fry. He referred to the typical government red tape and the lack of communication was the obstacles he and his staff faced and the reason construction has taken so long to begin. “Sometimes you just have to kick and scream just a little bit louder to get something done,” he said, “We know that two years was too long.”
Fry understands the frustration the residents of Longs have and is hoping with the groundbreaking the community can be assured it is a reality and a start to some normalcy for residents.
Timothy Asta, API Vice President of Development and Strategic Initiatives, addressed the guests that there will be a new building. “We considered a number of different scenarios with the post office, different size buildings,” he continued, “we considered having solar panels on the roof, we considered having EV charging stations, we considered a number of post office of the future type of amenities and those were not in the post office’s plans so it took a long time to go through the development process.” He stated that they still plan to construct a building that will mark one of the most modern post offices in the nation. “I think this will effectively be a template for the future moving forward,” said Asta, “Making sure that we are providing the most modern facilities for the post office.” He stated this is what he would not consider this building a flagship necessarily, but believes this will be a guide for the USPS to build new post offices.
Residents will continue to use the temporary services at the site or drive to other post offices in the area.
Jon Otterberg, CEO of API, stated the proposed completion of the facility will take nearly 10 months to a year to complete.
The new U.S. Post Office in Longs will be twice the size of the original building that burned to the ground on June 27, 2020. Longs residents are excited to see progress for the new building.
The groundbreaking ceremony for rebuilding the U. S. Post Office on Highway 9 in Longs was held on Monday, June 26, at 10 a.m. The teams responsible to rebuild the post office grabbed a golden shovel and wore a construction hard hat as they turned the sandy patch of dirt making the official statement that Longs residents have been heard. Left to right Timothy Asta (American Postal Infrastructure API), South Carolina State Representative William Bailey, Harry Cushman (Dargan Construction), Jon Otterberg (CEO of API), Congressman Russell Fry, Horry County Council members Jenna Dukes and Mark Causey, South Carolina State Representative Kevin Hardee, Joe Pike (PMH Architects) and Tom Williams (API).