New address for Sykesville post office Town's name to stay, but building will be in Eldersburg

Larger site was needed

Officials select 3.2 acres at Route 32 and Progress Way

April 24, 1996|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The U.S. Postal Service is leaving Sykesville but keeping the town's name.

In about two years, the Sykesville post office will open in a new building just north of Routes 32 and 26 in Eldersburg, an area that shares the 21784 zip code with the town.

"They sent a delegation to inform me last week," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman. "I think they expected me to cry. People can get emotional on this subject, but I have anticipated it for years."

Sykesville probably has had a post office since it became an incorporated town in 1904, said Thelma Wimmer, the town historian.

For many years, a post office stood at Sandosky Road and Main Street, where E. W. Beck's Pub is today.

The current post office opened in 1975 at 7401 Village Road. It serves 22,092 customers with about 10,000 daily deliveries on more than 20 routes and has long since outgrown its 5,763-square-foot space.

Postal officials met with the mayor Thursday to notify him that they had found a site a few miles away in Eldersburg.

"I knew 10 years ago they would be leaving," Mr. Herman said. "From a business point of view, I understand that they need more space and the town did not have a site with enough room."

In February, the mayor asked postal officials to consider the Warfield complex at Springfield Hospital Center as a site. The state announced plans early this year to declare the 12 Warfield buildings and the surrounding 120 acres surplus.

Sykesville has proposed annexing the hospital site and zoning it for industrial use.

"Warfield won't be ready as quickly as they need to get started," Mr. Herman said. "The post office has to get land immediately if it wants to be open in two years."

Vince J. Liberto, a postal facilities spe-cialist, said state officials are not prepared to market Warfield. The Postal Service also rejected another property in town, across Sandosky Road from the current post office.

"The land was too narrow, and it was too difficult to configure parking," Mr. Liberto said .

Postal officials have settled tentatively on 3.2 acres at Progress Way and Route 32, near the Giant Food store under construction.

"This is our preferred site, and we are negotiating for the property," said Mr. Liberto. "We hope to make the purchase this year."

He would not say how much the Postal Service had offered for the land.

If construction funds are approved for the 1997 fiscal year, which begins July 1, groundbreaking could be early next year. Construction would take about 18 months.

The county will soon have two other new post offices. Mount Airy's will move to a larger site, on Windy Knoll Drive, at the end of May, and construction of the new Westminster post office, in the Englar Road business center, probably will begin in July, postal officials said.

Plans for the Sykesville post office call for a 21,550-square-foot building, nearly four times the size of the Village Road building.

"If you saw how crunched they are in that office now, you would know how pressed they are for space," Mr. Liberto said .

The new site will have 39 parking places for customers, 32 for employees and 34 for postal vehicles. The current post office has about 50 employees, and Mr. Liberto said there are no plans to hire more.

Mr. Herman asked one thing of postal officials: He would like them to establish a satellite post office in a Main Street business.

"In about a year, they promised they would take a survey and allow businesses to bid on a postal contract," Mr. Herman said. "If it is on Main Street, it will encourage more walk-in business and have a positive effect."

Once the Village Road building is vacant, postal officials will have it appraised and placed on the market.

Asked whether Sykesville would be interested in a 21-year-old building with a loading dock, Mr. Herman said, "If the price is right."

Pub Date: 4/23/96

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