MENTOR, Ohio — A simple box that might look more at home in an apartment building is what the U.S. Postal Service says is the future of daily mail delivery.
"We've gone to all Cluster Box Units, at the request of the U.S. Postal Service," said Sommers Real Estate President Rick Sommers.
He says every new development that real estate groups like his build have the simply boxed called Cluster Boxes. The Postal Service says they cut down on the cost of individual boxes, locked boxes keep sensitive mail safe and make delivery a one-stop shop.
"Obviously the post office truck doesn't have to stop at every house, blocking traffic," said Sommers.
It's a trend that could help with some mail delivery concerns we told you about in the past. Residents near Akron were concerned with inconsistent delivery and letters going to their neighbors' homes.
Sommers says this new way is going to be even more common in Northeast Ohio as the housing market continues to climb.
"There weren't any lots developed from about 2005 to about 2011, so there was a pent-up demand for new lots now that the housing market is back and strong," said Sommers.
The Postal Service says the boxes could foster a stronger sense of community, almost like a new water cooler. Walking to the same spot to get their mail creates a place where neighbors can get to know each other, or even just get out for a stroll.
"We are designing and integrating walking paths throughout the communities, even though it is Northeast Ohio and we have some bad weather," said Sommers.
One concern is that without mailboxes it might be harder for the police or fire departments to find the addresses that need their help. All the departments we spoke to say it hasn't been a problem, as long as home addresses are clearly labeled, even without a mailbox.
If you are having issues with your mail delivery, you can contact the U.S. Postal Service at usps.com or over the phone at 1-800-275-8777 (1-800-ASK-USPS).