USPS: No timeline for Albion Post Office completion

USPS: No timeline for Albion Post Office completion

It has been nearly two years since the Albion Post Office was lost to a fire in February 2017, leaving Albion residents questioning when a new post office will be complete. (Breeze photo by Nicole Dotzenrod)
Residents talking home delivery

LINCOLN – A year and nine months have passed since a structural fire leveled the Albion Post Office on School Street in February 2017.

Since the residents of Albion have never been afforded the luxury of home mail delivery, they’ve been traveling to Manville to retrieve their mail as they await the construction of a new post office in Albion.

Town Councilor Jim Jahnz, who represents Albion, said he’s disappointed the construction is taking this long to complete. Overall, Jahnz says, “the mood is one of frustration.”

“The people in the village have been inconvenienced for nearly two years, with almost no sympathy from U.S. Mail,” he said. “The most difficult part about this is that (the timeline) is really up in the air. It’s one thing to be inconvenienced for one, two or three months. It’s at the point now where the people have been put on hold for almost two years with no answers.”

Jahnz added that he would support expanding home delivery into Albion, but noted that decision is not his to make. He said his constituents in District 4 would ask about home delivery “now and then” before the fire, but there was never a large groundswell for it. Now, more are wondering about the possibility.

The residents do not have post office boxes in Manville, meaning they must wait in line and ask for their mail at the counter. While some residents can go a few days or a week without checking for mail, Jahnz said that’s not a possibility for everyone.

“I can’t wait to check the mail if I’m someone waiting on a mortgage bill, tax return, social security or even a paycheck,” Jahnz said.

Tiffany Forte, a representative for the U.S. Postal Service, told The Breeze this week that there is “no timetable for when the work will be completed” on the Albion Post Office.

“Since the building is at the corner of a rotary in the center of the Albion village, they are currently waiting for power to relocate service to the front of the building in order to complete the exterior siding and windows. There is no timetable for that work at this moment,” she said. “We understand that once the exterior work is completed, the interior work will begin.”

The contractor, Jeff Piette, said the bulk of that work was completed as of last Tuesday, when power was moved so his crews could complete exterior siding near and gabled roof.

“Things are back in our control, so we’re moving along now,” Piette said, adding that third-party holdups have impacted the project timeline. He said the HVAC system is complete, and that he’s waiting on a shipment of post office-grade glass windows for the first floor.

Piette would not provide an updated timeline for completion, but said things are moving forward now after a series of delays. When finished, the building will include the post office, Albion Food Mart and three townhouses.