The long-awaited opening of the post office in the Town of Washington is expected to take place sometime before this upcoming holiday season following yet another delay, an official with the United States Postal Service said.
In an obtained email exchange dated Sept. 2, Postal Service Customer Relations Manager David Hollberg told Rappahannock County Hampton Supervisor Keir Whitson that electric and sewer hook-ups were placed in incorrect areas of the building that will house the post office, causing further delay with the electricity needed for work to proceed on the interior.
“Thank you for the update, but this is shocking. We are now well beyond two years to get a new post office in the town,” Whitson replied. In a follow-up message dated Sept. 10, Hollberg told Whitson that barring any additional delays, the Postal Service expects to open the Washington location by “early November.”
The post office, to be located on Warren Avenue, was originally supposed to be open for business by June 1, but the date came and passed. Washington Mayor Fred Catlin said high-ranking officials within the Postal Service continue to press the developer to get the project finished, especially since it began paying rent on the property in September. But it remains to be seen whether the November deadline will ultimately be hit.
“While it is not possible to provide a specific date for opening, the Postal Service continues to work closely with the landlord to complete the building in November, barring any delays in receiving building materials,” Postal Service spokesperson Felicia Lott said in a statement.
The Postal Service hired two subcontractors for the project, one to handle the building’s exterior and another to manage the interior. Catlin said the exterior contractor, Mid-Atlantic Postal Properties, has finished most of its work on the building’s shell, while the interior developer still demands additional time. It’s not clear who the interior developer is. Neither Whitson, Catlin nor Hollberg knew; Lott declined to say when asked.
Catlin declined to endorse the Postal Service’s projections for when exactly the project will be completed.
“I have learned — between COVID and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and everything else — not to anticipate whether that deadline is an accurate one or not anymore,” he said. Catlin called the entire process surrounding the post office’s construction “an enormous struggle” with several parties in the past providing what became false deadlines. He has had no contact with the interior developer.
Whitson said in an interview he plans to continue riding the Postal Service to finish the project on time, calling the delays “unacceptable.”
“All that I can do now is continue to explain that it’s not acceptable to be forcing our citizens, some of whom are elderly, to stand in a line outside the tiny Sperryville post office,” Whitson said. Up to this point, the project has also been delayed by weather events and supply chain bottlenecks.