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NEW POST OFFICE IS SET TO RISE IN BOUNTIFUL

SHARE NEW POST OFFICE IS SET TO RISE IN BOUNTIFUL

Construction should begin next week on the new downtown post office, officials announced Tuesday.

The $2.3 million building will be completed in the spring of 1995, later than the Christmas opening officials had anticipated.Completion of the office will close a decadelong debate among city officials about what to do with Block 29.

The block was a Redevelopment Agency project, an area leaders determined was "blighted." The RDA had hoped to attract a retail shopping center that would return property- and sales-tax revenue to city coffers.

But more than five such proposals died before the U.S. Postal Service exercised the city's offer to sell the block in 1992 for $853,000. The RDA paid more than $1 million for the land; the Postal Service, since it is a federal agency, doesn't have to pay the city any taxes.

Though the RDA's financial goals for the block were never reached, City Council members say the building will at least draw people into downtown - which will help existing businesses.

Last year, the RDA wondered if it would ever see construction. The service's new postmaster froze new projects nationwide. But regional officials asked for an exception for Bountiful and got it.

They argued that the city's current office, 675 S. Main, is not as safe as others because it is situated on a curve that makes entering and exiting difficult.

Highlights of the new building will include Utah's second "postal store," a 9-foot-tall fountain outside built by the city and 50 off-street parking stalls, more than city residents have ever seen at their post office.

The postal shop lets customers select products, like stamps or envelopes, from displays and then pay at one of several registers.