CARDIN — The Cardin post office is shutting down, and the Picher post office won’t be far behind.

The U.S. Postal Service will close the Cardin post office Saturday morning because a lease is expiring and because there are environmental issues, said David Lewin,

"The post office will be open from 9 until 10:30 (a.m.), and then it will close for good,” he said.

Residents can pick up their mail in Picher beginning next week, but that post office will close in a few months, he said.

Lewin said the Picher lease expires in June. The owner is not interested in renewing because of a federal environmental buyout, Lewin said.

Picher and Cardin are two of the five communities in a 43-square-mile area of northern Ottawa County known as Tar Creek. The federal government is spending $60 million to relocate families and businesses from Tar Creek, an environmental Superfund cleanup site contaminated by lead and zinc pollution from decades of mining. The area also is prone to cave-ins.

Mail will still be delivered to homes in Cardin, Lewin said.

Cardin post office box holders will not have to change their addresses. Lewin said postal officials will work with people who want to get their mail in Miami or Commerce instead of Picher.

The Cardin post office opened Dec. 1, 1951, and has 58 post office boxes, with 31 units now being used, Lewin said.

Sheila Stogsdill can be reached at (918) 787-9581 or at sheilastogsdill@sbcglobal.net.