Post office may make the move |

Post office may make the move

Emma Garrard/Sierra SunTerry James, Truckee's acting postmaster, gathers overflow mail from P.O. boxes to put on the overflow shelves at the downtown post office Thursday.

As the U.S. Postal Service continues to move forward with plans for a new Truckee post office, town officials are still trying to open a public dialogue with the federal agency.

The Postal Service is now seeking between 19,000 and 21,000 square feet of space for a new distribution and retail center, which would replace both the 3,800-square-foot office on Deerfield Drive and the 7,800-square-foot office downtown.

“We’re asking the community if they have any land for us to buy,” said Terry James, Truckee’s acting postmaster.

But town officials have asked for more public involvement to address public concerns over losing the downtown office.

“I’ve talked to the operations folks in Las Vegas and Reno, and what I’ve learned is they definitely feel they need a new facility to handle growth,” said Town Manager Tony Lashbrook. “And they are not in a position to build a new building and retain a post office in downtown.”

The town formed a group of downtown merchants and the Chamber of Commerce to discuss community interest, Lashbrook said, and the chamber surveyed about 125 people, finding that 75 percent wanted the post office to stay downtown.

One solution offered from the Postal Service was a contract postal unit ” a retail counter for postal materials inside another downtown business ” but Lashbrook said such a setup couldn’t have post office boxes for mail pick-up.

Lashbrook sent a letter to the Postal Service during the 30-day appeal period, asking for a public meeting on the issue, but the town has not yet received a response, he said.

But the town will have to carefully weigh the consequences of any actions taken, Lashbrook said, as the Postal Service will only have available funding through September.

“If the town digs in and slows down the site acquisition process so they can’t meet their September deadline, then they lose the money and we have two offices with their leases ending,” Lashbrook said.

Counter to the prevailing sentiment that the post office should remain downtown, some members of the public offered different points of view at the March 20 town council meeting.

Dan Warren, general manager for the Glenshire Devonshire Residents Association, suggested instead spreading out postal services, reducing vehicle trips, traffic, and pollution.

“We should have more cluster boxes and home delivery, and move out of central Truckee,” he said.

Truckee resident Denny Dickinson suggested having a number of smaller offices spread around town.

“They could have one downtown, one in Tahoe Donner, one in Glenshire, and one in Pioneer Trail, and then they could put the distribution center wherever they want,” Dickinson said.

Town staff will be updating town council on the post office issue on Thursday, April 3, at the regular 6 p.m. meeting at town hall.

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