FARMINGTON – The local post office is hoping to promote safety, security and creativity with a mailbox contest running through the summer.
Those passing by the Farmington Post Office on Main Street may have noticed the addition of some colorful new mailboxes. That is part of an initiative by the office to encourage homeowners to replace or improve mailboxes that may need attention after a long winter. A contest, running through the summer, could actually reward especially creative homeowners with a framed photograph in the post office itself.
According to Postmaster Susan Jones, the contest was the brainchild of carrier Laura Keaten. The towns serviced by the Farmington office, including the towns of Industry and Chesterville, lost a total of 422 mailboxes over the course of the winter, Jones said, between plow truck take downs, snow clearing incidents or simply the heavy snowfall. Carriers delivered mail into buckets hanging from sticks, boxes propped up on sawhorses or snowbanks and cleverly-repurposed wagons.
The third week of May is Mailbox Improvement Week at post offices across the country. Jones said that she’s seen a great response to the local office’s outreach effort, which has included handing out fliers and highlighted by the example boxes out front. Seven different employees worked to mount the mailboxes, Jones said, and a number of people had been in to ask how they could improve their boxes at home.
Common repairs include replacing loose hinges, either treating or replacing boxes that are rusting out, remounting mailboxes that are loose or adding house numbers to a mailbox.
At Keaten’s suggestion, the local office took that a step further, offering to photograph especially well-built or decorated mailboxes and frame the photos in the post office itself.
“We encourage people to take pride in their mailbox,” Jones said, point out that it is often the first element of a home a passerby sees. “It would be great to be the community with the coolest mailboxes.”
After decorating their mailbox, homeowners can contact the post office and a carrier will take a picture at the next opportunity. Information about how to correctly install a mailbox can also be obtained at the Farmington office.
The photograph contest will run through the summer, Jones said.