U.S. Rep. Doug Collins, R-Gainesville, wants the United States Postal Service to give his office the plan and any locations under consideration for the Green Street Post Office’s relocation, according to a letter obtained by The Times.
In a letter sent Thursday, Jan. 10 to USPS real estate specialist Sandra Rybicki, Collins’ office asked the postal service to provide “a plan for the identification and review of potential locations” and a list of locations under consideration.
“My understanding is that the location that they had chosen is pretty far out of town, and there is a concern that it’s going to be really hard for some individuals living in certain parts of town to drive … miles away just to get to the post office,” said Collins’ communications director Amanda Gonzalez Thompson.
No official public announcement has been made as to where any possible future site for the post office might be.
The Postal Service announced in March 2018 its plan to relocate from the current site. Weeks before the announcement, Collins had written a letter in support because of the current office’s “safety concerns, inadequate parking and accessibility problems.”
The office opened on Green Street in 1967, but city officials as early as the 1970s passed a resolution asking postal officials to consider moving it.
Collins’ latest letter also requested the postal service contact the city of Gainesville to get feedback during a public forum as well as ensuring “that any location decision for the new postal facility has the explicit support of my office and the city of Gainesville.”
In an email, Thompson wrote that she “wanted to reiterate the City of Gainesville shares the Congressman’s concerns and desire to ensure the Post Office relocates to a facility in close proximity to downtown.”
She included a copy of a letter from Mayor Danny Dunagan to Rybicki, dated Jan. 3, that called for the new post office to be “either in downtown Gainesville or at least in very close proximity to our downtown.”
The letter does not mention Collins.
In December, Collins’ office argued the postal service was not allowing for public input by not providing information on potential relocation possibilities.
“They won’t relocate it until they find a new location, which has to be within a certain distance of the current location,” Gainesville councilman Sam Couvillon previously said.
Brenau University President Ed Schrader said in the past the school has “long coveted” the space and anticipates purchasing the property once the Postal Service relocates.
Schrader said he would like to close off the Green Street access to the building’s parking lot once Brenau can purchase the property. The university then would renovate the space to make room for classes, offices and research areas for teacher education.