SYKESVILLE -- Town officials can stop worrying, for a while at least, about losing their post office.
"Our new postmaster general, Marvin Runyon, put a freeze on new real estate construction projects until the costs can be reviewed," said Bob Novak, acting communications manager for the U.S. Postal Service's Baltimore division.
Mr. Runyon took office July 6 and immediately froze $579 million in new post office projects around the country, Mr. Novak said.
Town residents and officials had been concerned since March that the Postal Service would take the Sykesville facility, now just off Sandosky Road, out of the town and put it in the Eldersburg area.
The Postal Service had written Mayor Lloyd R. Helt Jr. that it was considering larger, more centrally located quarters for the 21784 ZIP code area, which serves a large portion of southeastern Carroll County.
"We're in danger of losing our identity if they move the post office to Eldersburg," Mr. Helt said.
This is the second time in five years that a new post office for Sykesville has been put on hold. In 1986, postal officials began looking for a new site and in 1987 proposed building a new facility on Raincliffe Road.
"They went as far as appraising the property, which means they were seriously considering it," said Town Manager James L. Schumacher.
"But then Congress said no new post offices, and the project was halted," he said.
Although Mr. Helt responded to the post office's March letter, citing reasons for wanting to keep the facility in town and offering to work with officials on finding a site, the agency did not reply.
"What we would like is for them to pick up the pieces from last time and continue with the Raincliffe site," Mr. Schumacher said.
The town wants the main post office to stay in Sykesville, with possibly a substation in the Eldersburg area.
A satellite office does operate out of Carrolltowne Mall.
"A site here would be more accessible that somewhere else," Mr. Schumacher said. "If they put the main post office near the mall or on Liberty Road, there's already so much traffic there it will be difficult to get to."
While the town was worried that another location had been picked, Mr. Novak said no site was chosen from the "solicitation for proposal" that had been advertised with a June 29 deadline.
"We don't know at this time how long it will take, since it's a national project and will take time to review," Mr. Novak said. "The project is delayed indefinitely at this time."