By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer
If things go well, Ketchum will have a new post office on the corner of
Fourth Street and Second Avenue, behind Perrys restaurant, by the end of 2000, U.S.
Postal Service representatives said last Wednesday.
At a special Ketchum City Council meeting, several Postal Service
representatives presented preliminary architectural plans for the new structure. The
building would consume most of the western half of the block and use a rugged, yet
government-like, architectural style. Across Fourth Street, the Postal Service would
construct a 30-car parking lot adjacent to the Ski Tek building.
The idea behind the meeting, explained Postal Service architect David
Miller, was to find out if the citys officials favor the proposed plans. They did.
Members of the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission and city council
praised the plans. They requested only minor modifications to certain infringements to the
Councilman David Hutchinson said his biggest concern is the alley on
the east side of the lot. Proposed sidewalks, parallel parking slots and refuse and
recycling bin locations infringe on the alley too much, he said.
Miller said those problems can easily be mitigated.
Now the Postal Service will run the plans through a gamut of federal
approval stages that should culminate in its Washington, D.C. headquarters approval.
According to Postal Service project manager Russell Rainey, the Postal
Service has only a short time to approve the plans. Because the lot has not yet been
purchased, the agency will need to act fast.
An agreement with the lots owners will expire in early September.
At that time, if plans are not yet approved, the Postal Service may have to go back to its
site selection process.
Rainey said this is the best option that has arisen since the Postal
Service started looking at sites for a new post office in Ketchum nearly 10 years ago.
"For the year I have been involved, we werent sure it was
going to happen," Rainey said. "Its been a long, hard road for the city
and for us. We now have a very narrow window of opportunity to get this done in
Rainey said the design and site-selection carried out thus far have
been funded by seed money. The remainder of the project will need the Postal
Services headquarters approval before funds for land purchase and construction are
Rainey did not reveal the projects estimated total cost.