The City Council still wants to keep the post office downtown but has decided against two possible sites, one because of cost and another due to neighborhood concerns about the loss of homes and increased traffic congestion.
The council has been so determined to keep the post office in the downtown area that it has been acting as the Postal Service's agent for new land.The current 4,000-square-foot leased post office building at 145 E. State St. is too small and has limited parking. The Postal Service would like a new 7,000-square-foot facility with much more parking.
At its June 17 meeting, the council listened to a variety of concerns from residents living near 100 North and 100 East - the city's second and latest choice for a new post office.
The first priority was the old V.I.P. convenience store site just a few hundred feet west of the current post office. However, City manager Max Forbush said to buy that site plus the current post office land would likely cost $1.2 million. That's much more than the $500,000 the Postal Service wants to spend on property.
Also, there's concern over the old underground gasoline tanks that would have to be removed from the former V.I.P. site.
The second-choice site, facing 100 North and near the city's fire station, turned out to be unfeasible because the council didn't want to go against the desires of area residents.
At least three property owners would have to sell their homes and/or land to make that postal site a reality and none seem willing to do so.
"We don't want to sell our home," Vickie Christensen, one of the homeowners who would have to move to make room for a post office, said. She's a fifth-generation occupant of the home.
Jerry Preston owns some of the land that would have to also be sold to the post office. He also opposed it. He dislikes the post office's tentative design for the site and is also concerned about increased traffic and congestion in the area.
Several other area residents, including Sheryl White, also spoke against the site for reasons ranging from unsafe streets for kids to the devaluation of nearby property.
The council is going back to the drawing board. Currently, the only other possible site the council is aware of downtown is on 200 West Street, near Farmington Junior High. However, that road is busy now and is projected to handle 17,000 cars a day in the near future.
"It has an implication anywhere you move ," Mayor Greg Bell said. "I don't know what to do."
If there's any good news at all in the post office site selection, it would have to be that regional postal officials in Denver and leaders at the Salt Lake Post Office are finally seeing eye-to-eye on land needs.