City officials await word on new ZIP code; not optimistic

August 13, 2009

By Tim Pfarr

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By Tim Pfarr
City officials recently sat down with United States Postal Service officials — including Katherine Nash, USPS Seattle district manager — to discuss the possibility of Newcastle getting its own unique ZIP code.
However, according to those who attended the meeting, USPS officials said their primary concern is that Newcastle does not have a high enough population to warrant a new ZIP code.
“They heard our issues, and they know it’s frustrating for residents,” said Doug Alder, Newcastle communications manager.
Although the city has not yet received a definite answer, Alder said the outlook is not good, as USPS officials said Newcastle would have to annex a large portion of land to get its own ZIP code.
“When they told us Newcastle would have to annex half of Renton to even be considered, we knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” Alder said.
USPS Communications Program Specialist Ernie Swanson said the USPS usually grants ZIP codes to areas with populations of 30,000 or more. Newcastle’s population is less than 10,000. He also said that if Newcastle were given its own ZIP code, the new district would not have a post office, which is not typical.
Swanson said giving Newcastle a unique ZIP code would be expensive, because updating the postal service’s records would involve manual labor.
According to a recent survey of Newcastle residents, 98 percent of the more than 170 people who responded said they wanted a unique ZIP code, and 52 percent said they have experienced issues with delivery of mail and packages. As of now, the city is split between two ZIP codes: 98056 and 98059.
Newcastle previously applied for a ZIP code twice — once in 1994, when the city first incorporated, and again in 2004. Both requests were turned down. Because a city is required to wait five years between ZIP code requests, Newcastle was not able to make a request again until this year.
Reach Reporter Tim Pfarr at 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcas@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.newcastle-news.com.

City officials recently sat down with United States Postal Service officials — including Katherine Nash, USPS Seattle district manager — to discuss the possibility of Newcastle getting its own unique ZIP code.

However, according to those who attended the meeting, USPS officials said their primary concern is that Newcastle does not have a high enough population to warrant a new ZIP code.

“They heard our issues, and they know it’s frustrating for residents,” said Doug Alder, Newcastle communications manager.

Although the city has not yet received a definite answer, Alder said the outlook is not good, as USPS officials said Newcastle would have to annex a large portion of land to get its own ZIP code.

“When they told us Newcastle would have to annex half of Renton to even be considered, we knew it was going to be an uphill battle,” Alder said.

USPS Communications Program Specialist Ernie Swanson said the USPS usually grants ZIP codes to areas with populations of 30,000 or more. Newcastle’s population is less than 10,000. He also said that if Newcastle were given its own ZIP code, the new district would not have a post office, which is not typical.

Swanson said giving Newcastle a unique ZIP code would be expensive, because updating the postal service’s records would involve manual labor.

According to a recent survey of Newcastle residents, 98 percent of the more than 170 people who responded said they wanted a unique ZIP code, and 52 percent said they have experienced issues with delivery of mail and packages. As of now, the city is split between two ZIP codes: 98056 and 98059.

Newcastle previously applied for a ZIP code twice — once in 1994, when the city first incorporated, and again in 2004. Both requests were turned down. Because a city is required to wait five years between ZIP code requests, Newcastle was not able to make a request again until this year.

Reach Reporter Tim Pfarr at 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcas@isspress.com. Comment on this story at www.newcastle-news.com.

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