Evansville Post Office searches for new location
EVANSVILLE--Evansville's plans to expand its library are pushing the adjacent post office to begin searching for a new location.
A U.S. Postal Service real estate specialist announced at Tuesday night's city council meeting that the Evansville office will relocate, Mayor Sandy Decker said.
“They try very hard not to talk with a specific developer until after they made this public announcement,” Decker said postal officials told her.
The post office recently renewed its lease on the city-owned building at 16 S. First St., through the end of 2017.
The city has been planning for years to expand the Eager Free Public Library, 39 W. Main St. The city council voted in 2007 to buy the post office building in preparation for the expansion.
The library board is nearing the end of its more than two-year, strategic planning process, library Director Megan Kloeckner said.
Expansion talks are “at the very, very beginning,” and library officials haven't yet met with city leaders or architects, she said.
“Probably spring or summer of 2018 would be the earliest that any actual construction would be able to take place,” she said. “I think that's a good goal.”
The library needs more space to expand programming and technology needs, she said.
Residents were “very supportive” of the library and felt it is an important part of the community, according to a recent city survey, she said.
About 50 percent of respondents support expanding the library in the next five years, the survey found.
Expansion would mean the demolition of the post office building, Kloeckner said.
Evansville Postmaster Darnell Schuur stressed the post office will remain in town.
“We are not leaving Evansville,” she said.
No locations have been picked, said Schuur, who is not involved in the relocation planning.
“Of course we want to be where it's most convenient for the citizens of Evansville. We have to look at economics, too,” she said. “We have to look at what there is downtown that would fit our needs.”
Those needs include loading vehicles and customer and employee parking, she said.
The postal service generally likes long-term leases over buying properties, Decker said.
The Evansville office processes Albany mail, and those carriers also work out of the office.
“That will not be changing,” Schuur said.
Decker said the city would like the post office close to the city center because residents ranked walkability as highly desirable on the community survey.
“They just have a lot of logistical needs,” Decker said. “It's a matter of trying to find the right location.”