Postal service responds to city
The Tonganoxie City Council sent a letter to the United States Postal Service this month asking for a review of its site selection for a new post office.
USPS project manager Russ Rainey told City Administrator Mike Yanez the postal service's reasoning for its selection at the southeast corner of Laming Road and Woodfield Drive. The site is 2.042 acres of land just north of the county annex.
The city council has urged the postal service to keep the post office in the downtown area -- at the potential site near the southwest corner of East Fourth Street and East Street (extended). The 1.8-acre site is two to three blocks from the Tonganoxie Fire Station, on the south side of Fourth.
The other two potential sites were: 1.5 acres near the southwest corner of Laming Road and Leavenworth County 5 (near Stack 'N Stuff storage) and 1.15 acres southwest of U.S. Highway 24-40 and Fourth Street (Kansas Highway 16) just south of the abandoned gasoline station.
These are points Rainey made to Yanez about the chosen site at Laming and Woodfield vs. the possible site on East Fourth Street:
- The USPS is not a tax-supported agency and has a fiduciary responsibility to the citizenry to construct and operate facilities that are defensible in terms of economically sound use of public funds, principles and practices. With this in mind, The Laming and Woodfield site allows for construction of a bigger USPS facility with expansion capabilities at a lower cost than the East Fourth Street site.
- The East Fourth Street site is on or near Federal Emergency Management Agency-recognized flood plain and development costs would be higher to construct in a flood plain. Additionally, as the East Fourth Street site was once a site of a concrete plant, the USPS had environmental concerns about soil qualities from past use of the ground and potential remediation costs of any soil cleanup.
- With these and other factors in mind, the USPS estimates it would cost 2.2 times as much per square foot to build on East Fourth Street than at Laming and Woodfield. The estimated construction costs at East Fourth Street were calculated to be a higher cost than any of the other three proposed sites.
- According to the USPS and community growth patterns, the Laming and Woodfield site will be a more centralized community location in the future as the city continues to grow toward the north and east. It is the USPS's intent to construct a new facility that will best serve the community for the next 30 to 50 years and centralization over the long term is a consideration of the USPS.
- To categorize USPS criteria for site selection, the major factors are financial considerations, site development cost considerations and flood plain factors. Using these three major areas, East Fourth Street was not attractive to the USPS compared to the other sites proposed within the community.
The USPS does not factor nor consider construction of facilities for economic development or downtown revitalization. Though there is visible local support to keep the post office in the downtown area to promote downtown visitation, this is not a consideration of the USPS in capital construction matters.