- Associated Press - Monday, September 22, 2014

LEAD, S.D. (AP) - The U.S. Postal Service is postponing plans to cut home mail delivery to more than 700 addresses in Lead and Deadwood.

The Postal Service announced the move to centralized collection boxes last week, after a string of injuries to postal workers due to falls related to poor or absent sidewalks. The move was to happen in October, affecting about 20 percent of Deadwood addresses and 25 percent of Lead addresses, but the agency reversed course a couple of days later without giving a reason.

Regional spokesman Pete Nowacki did tell the Black Hills Pioneer that the Postal Service will continue to evaluate safety issues in the two Black Hills communities.

“We will make a final decision on any change in delivery method at a later date if necessary,” he said.

Seven postal workers have reported injuries in the past three years due to falls related to sidewalks, according to Lead-Deadwood Postmaster Laura Uhrig.

Property owners generally are responsible for maintaining sidewalks even though they are owned by the city. Some residents told the Rapid City Journal that the cost is prohibitive.

Jerry Muller said his property in lead is next to an elevated sidewalk with a crumbling foundation, and a contractor told him it would cost $20,000 to repair.

“I’d like some help (fixing) it,” he said.

The Old West gambling town of Deadwood, through historic preservation laws, offers low- or no-interest loans to homeowners to help pay for sidewalk repairs, building inspector Keith Umenthum said.

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