City of Bishopville still without post office nearly 18 months after arson damaged building, USPS responds

City of Bishopville still without post office nearly 18 months after arson damaged building, USPS responds

BISHOPVILLE, SC (WIS) - The city of Bishopville remains without a formal post office 18 months after a suspected arson damaged the existing building.

In January 2017, fire officials were called to an overnight fire at the post office. Most of the damage to the building was the result of smoke and water. However, a year and a half later, residents are curious as to why the building hasn't been renovated and reopened.

"I just can't understand why the government would allow a post office to get in this condition," Tom Drayton, a resident of Bishopville, said. "We're out here daily getting our mail out of our boxes. It doesn't matter it snows, rains, and hails if its 100 degrees or 25 degrees."

USPS said the building is privately owned and the federal government is currently in a leasing contract with the owner.

With the lack of action, some residents want to know why the government hasn't done more to work with the landlord. In addition to the building sitting behind a chain link fence and surrounded by overgrown bushes, the property has not been kept up.

"We're trying to get the town back up and going and revitalize the town and get new businesses in town and they're working on downtown trying to fix it up and then you come down here and everything is overgrown, chain link fence, it don't look good," resident Lanette Hayes said.

Travis Windham, the chairman of the Lee County Council, said he's spoken with several high ranking state officials, including Sen. Lindsey Graham, about the ongoing eyesore. So far, he said he hasn't received a response.

Weather, safety concerns and overall aesthetics concern many of the hundreds of people who utilize outdoor mailboxes and a mobile office in the parking lot of the former building. A truck is meant to function as a post office, offering everything from stamps to money orders.

"Some people check their boxes at night, which is not safe at all," Marilyn Hickson said. "You never know who is walking around out to bad things and it does look trashy from the outside I must admit."

WIS reached out to USPS and it released the following statement: "The landlord has begun repairs to the Bishopville Post Office and it is scheduled to open October 2018."

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