Post office possibilities

Looks like the Mount Eden and Bradford (downtown) branches of Hayward post offices are still on the list of ones that could be closed. According to today’s wire story, there’s just not as much mail as there used to be, courtesy of the recession and that newfangled Internet and e-mail.

Local historian Frank Goulart said that closing the 1930s-era downtown post office could facilitate other uses for the building.

“Buildings have a habit of developing,” he said. For example, the original downtown post office, two blocks from Bradford, is now used as the headquarters for the Hayward Area Historical Society. Goulart said that if closed, the Bradford could be incorporated into plans to build a new main library next door, or even used as a community theater.

“Hayward desperately needs a performing arts center,” he said. “You go in, you got that marble, all the nice wood and stuff. That could be a little lobby, and then the back mail sorting part could make a reasonable performance hall. There are things we can do to make old buildings come to a new life with the city. We need to find ways to maintain the nicer, older buildings with development that would be complementary, and get the best of both words — an old building with the modern uses that we want.”

If both Hayward post offices on the list were to close, the city would be left with the main branch at 24438 Santa Clara St. and one at 249 W. Jackson St. — both of which are at least 1 and a half miles from the at-risk offices. A final list of closures is expected next month.

The little Mt. Eden branch isn’t exactly historic, but locals love it for the convenience. Maury O’Connel, who lives within walking distance of the Mt. Eden branch but chooses to drive there “because I’m lazy,” has his own reason to hope it’s not on the final closure list.

O’Connel has had an enviable piece of real estate at the building for more than 25 years: Post Office Box # 1.

“I used to use it for business and I’ve just hung on to it through the years,” he said. “I hope (the branch) doesn’t close because then I’ll still be No. 1,” he said. 


Grandma catches bike thief at sheriff’s flea market

The Alameda County Sheriff’s popular flea market fundraiser held Sunday in San Lorenzo had a moment of drama when deputies arrested a man who was selling a stolen bike.

A local grandmother noticed that the bike on sale looked suspiciously like the one that had been stolen from her grandson around 10 days before…

Man arrested after selling stolen bike at Alameda County Sheriff’s fundraiser