The nationwide shakeup of the U.S. Postal Service has frozen construction of the city's new post office on Block 29.
And no one knows yet how long the freeze will last.The service's new postmaster general, who took control last month promising to cut 30,000 jobs, also halted new construction.
"I guess they're in a quandry right now with reorganization," Mayor Bob Linnell said. "Our building is in limbo."
More than that, the service hasn't even paid the city for the land, although it agreed to buy 3.5 acres of the block for $853,000 earlier this year.
"I'm not sure what that means," said service spokeswoman Beverly Burge, referring to the non-payment. "At some point in time, we're going to start building post offices again."
Local service officials have asked headquarters in Washington, D.C., to lift the freeze on Bountiful, she said. Regional officials in California approved the request.
Still, the request must pass national muster, eventually making its way to the new postmaster general, Marvin T. Runyon.
"All projects are on hold pending re-evaluation," said spokeswoman Sandra Stewart from service headquarters. "Eventually, it will be the new line administrators who make the final decision."
Utah's new administrator isn't yet in place.
Headquarters, though, has already allowed 35 projects to continue despite the freeze, Stewart said. But each of the projects approved were necessary because natural disasters, like hurricane Andrew in Florida, destroyed offices, or officials were concerned about the safety of employees and customers.
Officials here say safety at Bountiful's current office on Main Street is lacking because the office is situated on a curve that makes exiting and entering hazardous, Burge said.
Whether that will be enough to sway national officials is unknown, she said. "We should know by the end of the month though," she said.
Local officials have also said the current office at 650 S. Main is too small. They hoped to build a 23,000 square-foot building and begin delivering mail by August 1994.
The service exercised the city's offer to sell Block 29, which had been a Redevelopment Agency project for 10 years, last winter. The city will not receive any property tax revenue from the building, since the government is exempt from taxes.