Latest Developments in the “Pleasant” Post Office Project - updated 6/2/07

Rowland backed out of the project -- when faced with State and Federal reviews that would have held her accounatble for gutting and demolishing historic buildings within a National Register district -- and the majority of our Village Board seems to want to move forward with repairing the current P.O. for continued use.  However, Trustee Farenthold still wants his own way!  Recent press here.

Rowaland Abandons P.O. Project?

At the 5/16/07 Village Board Meeting, Mayor Gunderson announced that Wells College had withdrawn its offer to provide space for a new Post Office in the Heary Building, and Pleasant Rowland had withdrawn her offer to pay for that relocation of our postal facility.

He didn't make public the fact that the USPS asked the Village on May 9th if it would renew the lease for the current Post Office. (Perhaps his May 31 press interview reveals a motive; he apparently still hopes to force our Post Office to relocate.)

Most villagers hope for a reasonable resolution to the problem created by our Village Board's ill-advised support of Rowland's unrealistic plan. Otherwise the USPS may have no home in Aurora when its lease expires in March 2009. But Farenthold wants to play a phony blame game after his failed attempt to involve Congressman Arcuri in his scheme to hand over our P.O. to Rowland -- no matter what the public wants or needs.

At its July 18 meeting, the Village Board finally moved forward in a responsible fashion -- Farenthold was absent! -- and authorized an engineer's report on our current Post Office, to determine what steps would need to be taken to make the building acceptable for a renewed USPS lease.

At the September 2007 Village Board meeting, the condition study with cost estimates was reviewed by the board. Unrealistic, irresponsible and obstructionist -- Farenthold still refuses to replace the P.O. roof that he has allowed to rot while he has been the Trustee in charge Village Buildings and Grounds.



Read the Interesting May 2007 E-mail Exchange Below.
On May 3rd, ten weeks after his 3rd Public Hearing, USPS official Paul Senk informed our Mayor of a reduction in the size requirement for the proposed new Aurora Post Office. The next day Senk promised to initiate a new search for another location for the proposed post office -- even though he already had acepted the Heary Building as the new location last November!

Senk also stated that “I have not yet received a preliminary design or offer to review or negotiate” from Wells or Rowland, even though their site was accepted as the new Post Office location six months earlier.

In March, Farenthold tried to put Congessional pressure on the USPS for immediate project approval, but Rowland hadn't even begun the required design review process with the USPS!

Senk also wrote that the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation -- kept abreast of Aurora concerns by local, state, and national preservationists -- had decided to get actively involved. The ACHP planned to join the National Trust for Historic Preservation in the long-delayed but federally mandated Section 106 Review of our Post Office relocation project.

Generally speaking, the ACHP participates in such reviews only when there are clear indications that a developer may have engaged in significant violations of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). (Did Rowland finally drop the project because her shenanigans here couldn't withstand federal scrutiny?)


Subject
: FW: Aurora
Date: Thu, 3 May 2007 10:36:50 -0700
From: Senk, Paul J <paul.j.senk@usps.gov>

Dear Mayor Gunderson and Interested Parties:
Consistent with it's Transformation Plan, the Postal Service has adopted new business strategies for it's retail facilities. As stated in the Plan, "Retail and delivery facility requirements will be reviewed and national priority lists for new facilities will continue to be maintained and updated on a consistent basis. This will ensure that the Postal Service is spending wisely on its highest need projects. The Postal Service will reduce construction costs by 25 percent at large facilities and 10 percent at small facilities."

Over the past few months, the space requirements for all new Postal Service projects have been reviewed and revalidated. The new requirement for the Aurora post office is for 900 square feet of net interior space. This is a reduction of 400 square feet from the previous requirement. The reason for this reduction is primarily to reflect the actual post office box space needed for Aurora. The reduction in space will result in reduced construction and rental costs for the Postal Service.

Please contact me if you have any questions. If you would like to review the Postal Service Transformation Plan, it can be accessed on line at usps.com, or at this link: http://www.usps.com/strategicplanning/stp2006_2010/

Paul Senk
Manager, Real Estate
860/285-7006


To: Senk, Paul J
From: KAH
Sent: Thursday, May 03, 2007 5:34 PM
Cc: Don Klima ACHP; James Warren OPRHP; Katherine Kerr ACHP; Roberta Lane NTHP

Dear Mr. Senk,
Thank you for copying me on your announcement of reduced space requirements for the proposed Aurora Post Office.

When your USPS office issued a solicitation for a new Aurora Post Office location in September 2006, you specified a building space of 1,400 square feet and received only one response.

Had you issued a solicitation for a building space 37% smaller, the mere 900 square feet you now propose, you might well have received additional responses.

That being the case, I assume you will issue a new solicitation for an Aurora Post Office location based on your significantly revised space requirements. Is that correct?

I note that the USPS Strategic Transformation Plan you referenced was issued in September 2005 (a full year before the Aurora solicitation), and therefore the building space reduction for Aurora is not satisfactorily explained as a response to "new" USPS requirements.

Thank you for any clarification you can provide.

Karen A. Hindenlang
Aurora NY



Date: Fri, 4 May 2007 11:30:55 -0700
From: Senk, Paul J - Windsor, CT <paul.j.senk@usps.gov>
To: KAH

Dear Ms. Hindenlang:
I will issue another solicitation for the reduced requirement for the Aurora post office. We will also concurrently continue to work with the presently selected location. If another location is offered, it will be reviewed, and the previous site selection will be re-considered if that is determined to be in the best interests of the Postal Service.

Although the Strategic Transformation Plan 2006-2010 was published in September 2005, the policy guidelines and business rules for our new space projects were not completed and issued to the field until this past March. As of this writing, our office has reviewed and revalidated approximately 2/3 of our active new facility projects.

In response to your April 23 email, I have not yet received a preliminary design or offer to review or negotiate. The Postal Service Historic Preservation Officer is currently in discussions with the Advisory Council regarding the Section 106 review process. I will advise all interested parties, including the NTHP offices in Boston and Washington, when we proceed with the review process.

Thank you for your continuing interest in this project.

Paul Senk
Manager, Real Estate
860/285-7006


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