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USPS delay offers time for planning and consensus

By Staff
To the editor:
I share Atmore's disappointment that postal service plans to upgrade the postal facility are on hold. However, I think it offers a unique opportunity for community planning and consensus building. Few buildings touch as many sectors of the community and contribute to civic life as much as the post office. Relocation will, no doubt, affect shopping trends, traffic patterns, property values and quality of life. Clearly, it is an action that warrants public input and careful examination.
The postal service is cognizant of the effects its actions have on communities, and has subsequently adopted a "good neighbor" policy. The postal service has pledged to work with communities – to listen to their views prior to any final decision to expand, relocate, or construct a new facility. In fact federal law mandates that it is the postal service's "first priority to expand an existing facility; the second priority is to find an existing building in the same area as the current facility; and the third option is to build on a new site, all within the downtown area, if possible." [39 CFR 241.4 c(ii)]
I was told by postal service representatives that the project is on hold for "about a year." Hopefully, this period will allow the community to carefully examine all the alternatives for expansion or relocation of the post office, as well as develop a meaningful dialogue with the postal service. This activity may enhance efforts by merchants and citizens to plan for their downtown's future.
Brandon Brazil
Preservation Issues Coordinator
Ala. Historical Commission