The village of Scotia is sometimes affectionately called Mayberry by those who live and work within its boundaries.
The main street is Mohawk Avenue. At the village entrance and to the right stands an old building that is a branch of the Schenectady County Library. It has recently been designated an historic site.
Beyond the library and down a gentle slope is Collins Park, a beautiful expanse of green space with baseball fields, tennis courts, swings, and the village’s own swimming hole, Collins Lake. On the other side of Mohawk Avenue, opposite the library, is the Glen Sanders Mansion, home of Mansion Catering, Glen Sanders Restaurant, and the prime location of many weddings and special events.
Traveling along Mohawk Avenue, one can see small shops and restaurants including Village Paint and Hardware, O’Leary’s and San Souci Restaurant. People often walk in the village, many of them with children and dogs. There is an aging fire station which houses the Village Hall, the Scotia Police Station and other village offices.
About four blocks down Mohawk Avenue is the U.S. post office, a study brick building with a formal, impressive facade. It has been there for as long as I can remember. My grandfather lived on Center Street, which ends at the post office. He walked there six days a week to retrieve his mail. Along the way or in the building he ran into friends and neighbors and exchanged greetings and news of the weather. The very existence of the post office in this little village contributes to its lovely hometown atmosphere.
Several years ago, the government decided to build a post office in the town of Glenville. It is difficult to determine its purpose. All residents of the town continued to use the same ZIP code, 12302, which is the same as Scotia. “Scotia” remains the official mailing address for Glenville town residents. Although there is a ZIP code for Glenville, it is rarely used. The same can be said for the new post office. It has no homey atmosphere. Its entrance is confusing. I don’t know anyone who goes there. I pass it every day, and I prefer to use the Scotia office.
The Glenville building has not a fraction of the character of the village post office. I am sure there are many residents still scratching their heads, wondering why it was built in the first place, in that lonely parking lot where all other businesses save the Glenville Queen Diner have vacated their space and abandoned the property.
Now there is news of tentative plans to close Scotia’s post office.
We should have seen this coming. The little blue mailboxes into which we deposit our letters and bills began to disappear. Now the closest mailbox for the Main Street denizens is right outside the Scotia post office. When depositing mail there curbside, one can see the box so full that other letters are poking out of the opening, ready to fall out.
Residents of the village of Scotia should be outraged and should organize to fight this closure. The alternative will be to cross the bridge to the city of Schenectady, where parking can be difficult, or to drive to Glenville and try to figure out how to go in without running into a mail truck or getting caught in the Glenville Queen parking lot. Neither of these options is within walking distance.
The village of Scotia has many residents who do not drive. The town of Glenville is filled with suburbanites who do drive and are often in their cars, on the go. They can drive to Rexford, Alplaus, Burnt Hills or even the village of Scotia for their post office needs.
Government actions do not always make sense. Here is a clear demonstration of that fact. I would like to see the Glenville post office sold to become something else — maybe a Kmart-type store. We need to keep the Scotia post office. If nothing else, we must preserve this hometown atmosphere that is so wonderfully unique and, sadly, more and more scarce.
Audrey Osterlitz lives in Burnt Hills. The Gazette encourages readers to submit material on local issues for the Sunday Opinion section.
More from The Daily Gazette: