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AGENCY SET TO DELIVER ON NEW POST OFFICE

Rain, sleet and snow might not stop the mail, but federal budget shortfalls sure can put a whammy on new post offices.

Like many projects dependent upon federal monies, a request for a new Sandy-area post office has been approved, postponed and stuck on a list behind other worthy projects since the mid-1980s.But the U.S. Postal Service is about to deliver.

Postal officials say they will approach the Sandy City Planning Commission within several weeks with plans for a $2 million, 21,000-square-foot post office. The Alta Canyon Station, as it will be known, will be at 9265 S. Highland Drive, just north of the Canyon Center.

"We've owned that property for over 10 years," Robert Vunder, postmaster of the Sandy post office, said of the Alta Canyon Station site. "It's been a long story . . . Now it's finally coming to pass."

The facility was scheduled for construction in 1987, Vunder said, but a federal spending freeze put it on hold. Sandy has been high on the facilities list since then, but new post offices in Bountiful, Layton, Midway and Cedar City - all under construction - were first in line.

Wayne Christensen, Utah manager of administrative services for the U.S. Postal Service, said more than 50 Utah post offices have been built in the past eight years, bringing the total number of postal facilities here to about 200.

The Alta Canyon Station will become the second post office in Sandy, a city of nearly 90,000 people. The main Sandy Post Office, 8850 S. 700 East, now serves the city and about 15,000 Salt Lake County residents. It has been overcrowded almost since it was built in 1982.

"That's what is so exciting for our employees," Vunder said of the expansion. "This facility is designed for 35 routes and we have 75. In the evening when the carriers are going and coming, it's absolutely packed."

The Alta Canyon Station site is bordered on two sides by residential subdivisions. Vunder said a public meeting will be held within the next month to inform those residents of construction plans and to discuss the impacts of lighting and nighttime truck traffic.

The Postal Service does not need approval from the city or neighboring residents but is talking with both as a courtesy, Vunder said.

Five ZIP codes are now routed through the main post office in Sandy. Two - 84092 and 84093 - will go to the Alta Canyon Station. The ZIP codes 84070, 84091 and 84094 will continue to be serviced out of the main post office.