Friday, October 16, 2009

City of Fairfield post office to stay put for now

Fairfield post office to stay put for now
By Barry Eberling | DAILY REPUBLIC | October 15, 2009

FAIRFIELD - Despite Fairfield's hopes for a bigger post office, the local branch will likely stay put at 600 Kentucky St. at least through March 2016.

Solano County owns the property and is the U.S. Postal Service's landlord. County supervisors on Tuesday unanimously approved a new lease.

Fairfield had hoped the post office would move to a bigger building when its existing lease expires in March 2011. Now March 2016 is the new target date.

'We had great hopes for being able to move it,' Fairfield Mayor Harry Price said Thursday. 'It's just not going to happen, given this market. But that doesn't mean we'll give up on our concerted efforts to convince them the need exists.'

Price wants a big enough post office so letters mailed in Fairfield don't have to get routed through Oakland, even if the recipient is in Fairfield.

'It's very frustrating, for businesses especially,' Price said.

The U.S. Postal Service will initially pay the county $253,953 annually under the new lease, with the amount increasing 3 percent annually. That's slightly less than the rent called for under the present lease, but county officials noted the real estate market has declined. A county report called the deal 'the most beneficial terms for the county that the United States Postal Service is willing to accept.'

Fairfield built the Kentucky Street building in 1981 for $1.1 million so it could rent the property to the Postal Service. The post office had previously been located across the street for 20 years in a building about half the size. Fairfield had 58,000 residents at the time and wanted a bigger post office.

Almost 30 years later, Fairfield has about 104,000 residents and again wants a bigger post office. At one point, it tried to convince the U.S. Postal Service to move onto the old Fairfield Bowl property. It sold the Kentucky Street building to Solano County in 2006 for $1.8 million.

See the complete story at the Daily Republic online.