(July 7, 2014) SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — White envelopes, clear packaging tape and unfolded colorful boxes line the right wall, while a “Next Station Please” sign sits atop a wood counter in the dark room.
Outside the room, in a narrow hallway, stacks of empty white mail bins rest against a wall. The entrance remains locked.
More than six years after the U.S. Postal Service signed a lease for the space, and nearly $190,000 in rent payments later, the Chinchilla Post Office has yet to open.
“We do not have a date established,” said Karen Mazurkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the Postal Service’s Central Pennsylvania and Western New York districts.
An agency spreadsheet lists June 8 as the date officials pegged to occupy the 1,500-interior-square-foot property in the McCarthy Flowers building. But during this long-stalled project to relocate operations from a trailer on Shady Lane Road to the leased property, financial hurdles, as well as potential safety and landscaping issues, have caused officials to delay the opening.
Meanwhile, the Postal Service continues to pay Brian McCarthy Family LTD, the property owner, $30,916.87 annually to rent the space, according to the spreadsheet. The lease agreement runs through May 2023.
“There is some movement, but there are no dates being tossed around anymore,” South Abington Twp. Manager David O’Neill said.
Agency representatives recently inquired about how they should reimburse the township for the cost of materials used to make necessary drainage improvements, he said.
The drainage and on-site access issues, raised by the township and state Department of Transportation over the years, “were not anticipated” when Postal Service officials signed the lease on June 1, 2008, Ms. Mazurkiewicz said.
She said it has taken a significant amount of time to resolve the issues. The agency and PennDOT are now reviewing plans for how postal vehicles will enter and exit the back parking lot.
“We have to file the plan with (PennDOT),” she said. “That is in progress now.”