The Size of a Postage Stamp |

The Size of a Postage Stamp

Emma Garrard/Sierra Sun file photoFormer Postmaster Lea Jacobsen works at the Tahoe Vista Post Office. The U.S. Postal Service recently nominated the Tahoe Vista location for renovation.

Postal officials have nominated the cramped and crowded post office in Tahoe Vista for renovation.At its current location at the intersection of National Avenue and Highway 28, the post offices cramped quarters provide boxes for 454 residents. But the Postal Service needs room for an additional 200 boxes, at minimum, to meet the increased demands of a growing community, said Ellie Waller, Tahoe Vistas relief postmaster.As in much of the Tahoe Basin, the Tahoe Vista office does not provide home delivery. Instead, postal customers must have either a post office box or must pick up their general delivery mail on a weekly basis.The Postal Services regional district began to assess the Tahoe Vista facilitys limited space and identify areas of improvement earlier this month, said spokesperson Teresa Rudkin of the U.S. Postal Service. We recognize that Tahoe Vista could be a facility that we want to replace and now were starting to analyze the entire operation, Rudkin said. The evaluation is the first phase of what could be a long and layered approval process, she added.A package outlining the facilitys current state and any recommended improvements will be presented to district officials for approval by next October. If the district, which encompasses the state of Nevada and the Tahoe Basin, approves the report, the site assessment will be reviewed by postal officials who oversee operations in 17 Western states. After that, national officials may need to give the improvements further approval.We have lots of facilities and a limited amount of money to spend on them, Rudkin said. We often have to prioritize them and choose the ones that need the most amount of repair.More than 60 postal customers are waiting for a vacant box with Tahoe Vistas Zip Code, Waller said. Another 40 are signed up for general delivery, where the mail comes to a name-designated bin. Many more Tahoe Vista residents have resorted to renting postal addresses in Kings Beach, Carnelian Bay or Tahoe City.The Tahoe Vista sites parking lot, which backs into the highway, is also a location that is prone to traffic accidents, said Waller, who started a petition drive this summer to urge the Postal Service to relocate the facility. Waller said she collected more than 250 signatures, most of which were from box holders.The way the parking lot is set up you have to back up into oncoming traffic, Waller said. And theres accidents endlessly there.The site evaluation will only assess the current location and community demands, Rudkin said. Were not looking at anywhere beyond our own front door, she said.There is no set formula to stipulate the size required by a post office to serve a community of a given population, Rudkin said. The necessary capacity for a post office is judged on a case-by-case basis, taking into consideration the facilitys square footage and how many carriers it will serve. Basically, a post office just has to be able to serve its community, she said. When it starts having difficulty to do that, then we start looking at the facility.Rudkin said it is too early in the process to determine how expensive a renovation or relocation would be.

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