USPS files site plan for old Bangor court

The old Third District Court site, at the corner of Hammond and Franklin Streets, might be home to a future Bangor post office. Behind it (on left) is the former Penobscot County Courthouse Photographed Wednesday afternoon, February 10, 2010. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
BDN
The old Third District Court site, at the corner of Hammond and Franklin Streets, might be home to a future Bangor post office. Behind it (on left) is the former Penobscot County Courthouse Photographed Wednesday afternoon, February 10, 2010. BANGOR DAILY NEWS PHOTO BY JOHN CLARKE RUSS
Posted Feb. 10, 2010, at 9:54 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — The U.S. Postal Service has filed a site development plan with the city to turn the former 3rd District Court building on Hammond Street into its new post office.

Postal Service and Penobscot County officials, however, would not confirm that the deal is done.

“We have looked at several sites. I would say we are going forward with investigating that site further,” said Tom Rizzo, spokesman for the Postal Service in northern New England.

“Because our lease will not be renewed at our present location and because extensive renovations are being done there, we have to find other quarters that will be convenient to the public and meet our operational needs,” he said Wednesday.

Penobscot County Administrator Bill Collins, who is listed as the applicant on the site plan, and county Commissioner Peter Baldacci also declined to call the deal final.

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“At this point, the official process is still ongoing. There will not be an official decision until” later this week, Baldacci said.

Last month, Postal Service officials visited Bangor to tour a handful of potential sites, including the former court building, the former Miller’s Restaurant and temporary Hollywood Slots facility on Main Street, and empty space at the Bangor Daily News building, also on Main Street.

The site plan, which was filed Friday with the city’s code enforcement office, indicates that the Postal Service will employ WBRC Architects-Engineers of Bangor to make improvements to the former courthouse, including parking reconfiguration and the construction of a loading dock.

The site faces both Hammond and Franklin Streets. It abuts the Penobscot County Jail and the Penobscot County Courthouse, which also both are owned and operated by the county.

Code Enforcement Officer Dan Wellington forecast that the plan would likely go before the Planning Board in early March.

The current Bangor post office has been located in the Margaret Chase Smith Federal Building on Harlow Street since the 1960s. In recent years, mail processing was moved from that space to the Postal Service’s facility in Hampden. More recently, the federal government launched a $53 million renovation of the Federal Building and requested that the post office vacate its space by May 1.

Postal Service officials continually have lamented the lack of parking at the Harlow Street spot, but the former District Court location is not much better. The facility at the corner of Hammond and Franklin streets has about 40 parking spots, and the Postal Service is expected to lease an additional 10 from the city, according to the site plan.

Earlier this week, the Postal Service announced that it ended the first quarter of this fiscal year (Oct. 1 to Dec. 31, 2009) with a net loss of $297 million, but said quality of service has been maintained.

“In spite of the financial challenges we face today, Postal Service employees never lose sight that customer service is our top priority,” Postmaster General John Potter said. “On-time delivery performance for single-piece overnight First-Class Mail held at 96 percent for the fifth straight quarter.”

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