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Post office:

By Staff
Change of address?
By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
By SHERRY DIGMON
Advance Staff Writer
The decision has been made to build a new post office in Atmore.
But the decision on where to build it may not be an easy one.
Several merchants with businesses in close proximity to the existing post office were most vocal at a public meeting Monday night. They implored post office personnel to keep the post office downtown, as did representatives of the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce. Several of the merchants are members of the newly formed Atmore Business Association (ABA).
Several at the meeting suggested expanding the current building, an option that John McArthur, a private architect who works for the postal authority, deemed impossible, partly due to the building's elevation.
Other problems with the current post office include its age – 63 years – the eight steps in front, and functional problems. A new facility will be built at ground level.
All the sites discussed were in or very near the downtown area, depending on one's definition of downtown.
One site is adjacent to the current building. In this proposal, the buildings housing Atmore Carpets. Joey's Furniture and Elite Sporting Goods will be demolished. A new post office and parking lot will take in the rest of that block and part of the city hall complex in the back. Part of the end of city hall which houses the fire department will be removed, and part of the parking lot will be taken in. This option gives access to the post office on two sides – Main Street and Ridgeley Street. However, it closes access to that end of city hall. In addition, a fence will be erected between the post office and city hall.
This option is feasible if the post office authority settles for a smaller facility than was originally planned.
One drawback to this option is the cost to the city of demolishing the buildings.
Another site under consideration is the Atmore Farmers' Market area adjacent to city hall. The area, which belongs to the railroad, is large enough and no buildings would have to be demolished.
The third site discussed is the 200 block of Main Street, which Rite Aid had purchased and cleared, then put on the market. Buildings possibly will have to be demolished on this site to have adequate space for a building and parking lot.
Members of the ABA suggested meeting with the mayor and council to talk about possible sites.
As to the disposition of the current post office building, Pfrimmer said it will be offered to federal agencies first, then to the state, then the city and county. Shell said Tuesday the existing building and mural in the lobby will be preserved.
Also attending the meeting were Tal Pinson, with administrative services from Birmingham; Lester Cogollo, Atmore post office officer in charge; and Jimmy Hoobler, Atmore postmaster.