Hobart officials take ZIP code change appeal to D.C.

2013-05-27T23:15:00Z 2013-09-13T13:54:04Z Hobart officials take ZIP code change appeal to D.C.Deborah Laverty deborah.laverty@nwi.com, (219) 762-1397, ext. 2223 nwitimes.com

HOBART | City officials said they will continue to address changing the Ross Township retail/residential corridor to a Hobart ZIP code.

Mayor Brian Snedecor on May 20 sent a letter of appeal to the U.S. Postal Service in Washington, D.C., Bob Fulton said.

Fulton, who serves as the mayor's assistant, said the city filed the appeal after earlier receiving a letter of rejection from the U.S. Postal Service in Indianapolis.

The state postal service turned down the city's request, which was to change the ZIP code in the Ross Township annexed area to reflect it's part of Hobart and not Merrillville, Fulton said.

"We've been turned down because of operational issues," Fulton said.

Westfield Southlake mall and the nine square miles that surround it have been part of Hobart for nearly 20 years, yet many continue to refer to the Ross Township corridor annexed by Hobart as Merrillville because the addresses remain with the 46410 ZIP code, Snedecor said.

Hobart has a 46342 ZIP code.

Fulton said it's uncertain how long it will be until Hobart officials receive a reply from postal officials in Washington.

"What we hope to do is open up a dialogue," Fulton said.

He said Snedecor isn't the first mayor to request the ZIP code change and be turned down by postal officials.

This time around the timing may be right given that post offices now are relying more on computerized machines to "read" ZIP codes versus employees, Hobart officials said.

Many post offices have closed their doors in recent years with ZIP codes remaining in place.

"Many post offices are undergoing drastic revamping," Fulton said.

Linda Buzinec recalls requesting the ZIP code change shortly after the annexation of the mall area in 1993, when she served as a councilwoman.

There was another request when she became mayor.

She said she was told by postal officials that the address change would mean rerouting of trucks. Postal officials also said the loading dock at the downtown Hobart post office wasn't large enough.

Fulton said the ZIP code issue has caused problems in the past, including a new gas station on U.S. 30 erroneously going through Merrillville officials instead of Hobart officials.

"Merrillville officials issued a building permit for a business that was located in Hobart," Fulton said.

City officials also plan to enlist the assistance of U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-Merrillville.

"We're reaching out to the congressman, hoping he can help," Fulton said.

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