Stateline post office makes improvements
The U.S. Postal Service has been busy giving the Stateline post office a new facelift this holiday season in an effort to extinguish some of the negative attitudes aimed at the neglected facility.
New floor and ceiling tiles are being installed in multiple sections of the 36-year-old building, along with new lighting, paint and other aesthetic improvements.
Old worn-down tables in the post office’s lobby are in the process of being replaced, and a noticeable amount of landscaping has already been completed near the drive-in entrance on Kingsbury Grade.
Additionally, many public and nonpublic areas have been thoroughly cleaned, organized and liberated of all unnecessary equipment — hopefully making the site a better place to work and visit in the process, according to district staff.
“We just want everyone to know it’s not a one-sided thing,” said Suzanne Phillips, manager of post office operations for the northern portion of USPS’s Nevada-Sierra District. “We do care.”
The upgrades started in the wake of a rowdy Postal Service meeting on Nov. 19, where several residents voiced their frustrations with the post office and their concerns over the site’s long-term vitality.
Many thought the Postal Service was going to announce the closure of the Stateline facility at the gathering, since the building was on the chopping block only a few years before.
However, USPS officials said there are no plans to close the location at the moment. But they did acknowledge that the site was in dire need of improvements.
Some of the needs include significant environmental upgrades — estimated to cost more than a million dollars to complete — while others involved several minor projects that have simply “slid to the wayside,” Phillips said.
The Postal Service intended to tackle some of the larger, environmental needs when it voluntarily obtained a permit from the Tahoe Regional Planning Agency in 2007. However, the permit was never utilized since the Postal Service began targeting the facility for closure, USPS spokesman David Rupert said.
Consequently, the permit expired in 2010. But the Stateline post office never closed.
Since then, the self-funded Postal Service has reported multi-billion dollar losses each year, which has led to districts tightening their wallets and limiting capital improvements to “only the most pressing needs,” Rupert said.
Combined with a lack of vigilance to fix less costly needs, he added, the Stateline facility began to deteriorate.
“Since 2009, we have only focused on repairs that directly hampered (our) service or presented safety issue(s) for our employees or customers,” Rupert said in a email. “Every request has been scrutinized and delayed if possible until our cash situation improves. It’s an economic reality.”
Now, USPS is back in talks with the TRPA to see what can be done with some of the stormwater runoff issues at the site. And in the meantime, the Postal Service will do what it can to improve some of the minor issues that had previously been neglected.
“The option right now is to make the Stateline post office work in its present condition,” Rupert said.
In other words, the post office is staying put for now.