TEMPLE TERRACE — This much is clear: The post office here will remain open. Where it will be located, though, may take up to six months to find out.
U.S. Postal Service officials addressed fears the office would close and outlined plans to find a new facility to City Council members and a packed chamber room Tuesday night.
At some point, the office will have to move because of redevelopment efforts at its current location, 8862 N 56th St.
Jean Berg, who works for the Postal Service in Atlanta, outlined the plan to the council.
The ideal location will be within 1 to 3 miles of the current one. Officials are looking to renovate a space between 15,000 and 17,000 square feet in order to house operations for both Temple Terrace postal facilities. It should be able to accommodate customer traffic, mail trucks and have space to park delivery trucks.
But the clock is ticking on finding a new location.
The time line starts with 30 days of public comment, which ends in mid December. Then the Postal Service solicits bids for another 30 days. A list of the contending and noncontending sites will be available for public review for 30 days ending in February. Then there is a "final selection" period, which would end in March. After that, the council can review the plan up to 30 days. Then there is the time needed to build the new post office.
Residents and council members wanted to make sure the site is just moving and not closing.
Although the facility was cited on a Postal Service list of potential closures in light of a national $3.8 billion shortfall, Mayor Joe Affronti pointed out that the Temple Terrace post office in the redevelopment area is one of the busiest in the county, behind those in New Tampa, Carrollwood and at Tampa International Airport.
Berg agreed, saying the facility has a significant revenue and number of boxes. She also said 44 routes are based out of the office.
Many who spoke during Tuesday's meeting hoped the new site would be close to the current one, where redevelopment is slowly picking up steam.
Grant Rimbey, who represents the Temple Terrace Preservation Society and Downtown Redevelopment Task Force, urged officials to keep a location close to downtown development efforts, calling the office an ideal anchor.
"Temple Terrace deserves its own post office in its downtown core," Rimbey said.
Mark Sneed, who represents Vlass Group, the company working to redevelop the downtown center, said the company will work with the Postal Service to ensure the office remains open during the relocation process.
"They're not going to be put out on the street, and they don't have to close if they don't want to close," Sneed said.
Jared Leone can be reached at (813) 226-3435 or firstname.lastname@example.org.