Friday, March 14, 2008

Post Office Could be Moving

Change of address
Post office considers new, consolidated facility
By Brandon Gee - Steamboat Pilot & Today
Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The U.S. Postal Service could be shipping its Steamboat Springs’ offices to a new location in as little as 20 weeks.

“We’re in the process of looking for opportunities within the community,” Leigh Hettick told the Steamboat Springs City Council on Monday. “We’d definitely like to do something better for the community than currently exists.”

Hettick, district facility activation coordinator for Colorado and Wyoming, said the Postal Service hopes to stay within the city limits near Lincoln Avenue and also would prefer to consolidate its downtown and Sundance Plaza offices into one operation. Hettick said the city approached the Postal Service in June 2006 with its desire to purchase the main Post Office at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue.

“We’ve had informal conversations since that time,” Hettick said. “The time may now be opportune for us to do something different.”

Before Monday night’s special meeting of the City Council, City Manager Alan Lanning said the city isn’t necessarily interested in purchasing the downtown building.

“What we are interested in doing is helping with a process that moves the post office to a new location,” said Lanning, who noted concerns with traffic and congestion at the busy intersection. “At this point in time, that’s just a tough place for it to be.”

Hettick said it would be difficult for the Postal Service to stay put by remodeling, taking over the space it currently rents to Coldwell Banker Silver Oak, or both, partially because the building originally was designed as a bank.

“The location we would like would be designed from scratch as a post office,” Hettick said. “It’s a very difficult building to modify into something that works efficiently.”

Demolishing the building and constructing a new one also poses challenges such as how to continue service in the interim. And neither option solves the traffic and congestion concerns at Third Street and Lincoln Avenue.

Hettick said the Postal Service prefers to operate in property that it can own itself, but he said he would entertain rental options “if someone can make the numbers work.” Brian Olson is one developer who would love to strike a deal with the Postal Service. Olson said the Post Office would be a good fit for his Steamboat Crossings development at the northwest corner of South Lincoln Avenue and Pine Grove Road.

“We have had several conversations with them about moving in to our property,” Olson said Monday. “They’re attractive in that we’re trying to create a town center. It’s a community gathering place, and we would look forward to having a user like that on our site.”

Olson said the traffic the Post Office would generate also would be beneficial to all other potential tenants in his development.

Some at Monday’s meeting expressed concern that the Post Office would relocate away from downtown. Hettick said no downtown sites have been identified “in a formal way.”

“People who have sites are going to be encouraged to bring them forward as a result of this process,” Hettick said.

The next step in the process is for the Postal Service to take at least 15 days to gather and evaluate community comments. For more information, contact Hettick at (303) 227-5318 or