For nearly seven weeks, Audrey Price has driven her Honda Civic down Military Trail to PGA Boulevard and east over Interstate 95 to the Palm Beach Gardens post office on Fairchild Gardens Avenue to retrieve her mail.
The 87-year-old retired legal secretary rests on a walker as she stands in line at the post office, typically for 15 minutes, to collect her mail after showing a photo ID — all because of a simple maintenance problem.
A mailbox unit holding a dozen individual boxes in front of her Sabal Ridge condominium is rusted and no longer connected to the pedestal that supports it. A rope secures the bank of mailboxes to a concrete pole to keep it from falling over.
A note on the mailboxes, taken out of service on June 14, tells Price and other residents of her building that their mail is available at the Palm Beach Gardens post office and reminds them to bring a photo ID to retrieve it.
Price said managers at the Gardens post office recently told her it could be another two to three months before the mailboxes are replaced.
But the postal service’s customer relations coordinator in West Palm Beach, LuAnn Warner, said the postal service plans to replace the mailboxes for Price’s building this week.
Warner said Wednesday that postal service maintenance crews have found a 12-unit mailbox for Price’s building at Sabal Ridge and will install it by Friday.
Price filed a complaint with the Palm Beach Gardens office of U.S. Rep. Patrick Murphy.
“I’m ready to call President Obama,” she said.
After waiting in line for her mail at the Palm Beach Gardens post office Monday, Price was given a bundle of mail that was addressed to other residents of her building. None of it was hers.
One resident of her building works and can’t go to the post office when it’s open to collect her mail, Price said. Another is too ill to make the trip.
Since her mailbox has been broken, Price said she received one Florida Power & Light Co. bill a day before it was due. She said she started calling the power company to find out how much she owes instead of waiting for her bill to arrive by mail.
“I don’t like to complain,” Price said. “But I think this is justified.”
Another Sabal Ridge condo owner, Pam Davis, said several aging mailboxes at the complex don’t work well, and some have failed in the past.
Warner said property owners’ associations have the option of buying and installing mailboxes that are approved by the postal service. The Sabal Ridge Condominium Association did not respond to phone calls regarding the condition of mailboxes.