Westminster to get satellite post office U.S. Postal Service makes pledge

opening possible by February

November 18, 1998|By Donna R. Engle | Donna R. Engle,SUN STAFF

Downtown Westminster will get a satellite post office, a U.S. Postal Service official pledged yesterday after meeting privately with city leaders.

Westminster officials have been trying to restore limited service downtown since August, when the post office moved from its historic building at 83 E. Main St. Its departure left a gap in the life of the city and many merchants have lost business as postal customers no longer stopped to shop.

The Postal Service is soliciting bids from merchants to operate a limited-service post office with stamp sales and package mailing downtown. A post office might be in operation by February.

Although postal officials have twice rejected bids as too expensive, Robert Paiva, district marketing manager, said the Postal Service will keep looking until it finds a vendor.

"We'll keep doing this until we get it right. I think we'll have a contract post office [in this round of bidding], but if not, we'll go back and do it again," Paiva said.

The Postal Service plans a how-to presentation Tuesday for local business owners interested in bidding. The meeting will be held at 8 a.m. in City Hall, Emerald Hill Drive.

Despite the rejection of earlier bids as too costly, Paiva said he wouldn't provide an estimate of a bid that would be acceptable to the Postal Service.

"I don't think it is ethical on the part of the Postal Service or myself to throw a figure out like that. We just can't be placed in that position. It affects the integrity of our bid process," he said.

Mayor Kenneth A. Yowan was happy to hear Paiva's assurances that downtown Westminster will not be left without postal service. He and other city leaders were disappointed when the post office moved to quarters on Englar Road in August without a promised service center downtown.

"I feel very optimistic that we will have an office downtown. I know people would have liked to have it prior to the holidays, but February is better than none at all," Yowan said.

Paiva said the Postal Service started the most recent round of bid solicitations last month with a list of 35 merchants whose businesses would blend well with a contract post office. He said about 12 expressed interest, and six to eight of the 12 "have

shown real high interest," a larger number of potential bidders than in past solicitations.

The deadline for bids is Dec. 14. The Postal Service plans to evaluate the bids by mid-January.

"This is great news," said Jesse Jacobs, a spokesman for Democratic U.S. Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes. Sarbanes has worked with Postal Service officials to restore a downtown center.

Paiva said the possibility that a downtown post office would draw business from the Englar Road post office was never a concern for the Postal Service.

"When you have more than one location in town, you reduce the lines at the new facility. The revenue still comes in to the Postal Service. We never concern ourselves that one office is going to take business from another," he said.

Pub Date: 11/18/98

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