SPRINGERVILLE — For the past several years, the U.S. Post Office in Springerville has needed a face lift. The outside of the building, which was originally built in 1937, has been showing its age. No one remembers the last time it was painted, including the current Postmaster of Springerville, Randy Ellis, but efforts to try to spruce it up has been ongoing for years. That much-needed beautification is now finally coming to pass.
When Congressional Representative Tom O’Halleran visited the White Mountain communities during the summer, he made a stop in Springerville and spoke to town leaders about issues and concerns for the area. One of the issues raised by the Mayor of Springerville, Phil Hanson, was the condition of the post office and its need for maintenance and beautification. The building’s exterior has become worn over the years, especially after a fire occurred in 2004. It was becoming an eyesore on Main street. Community members had even come forward over the years to volunteer to repaint the building themselves. But since the building is a federal property, the post office lies outside of the authority of the town. There was little if anything the town of Springerville could do, or even allow to be done, for the aging facade. If the post office was going to be repainted, it would need to be done through the proper federal channels.
After multiple monthly follow-ups between the mayor of Springerville and the Congressman’s aides, a signed letter was sent to Rep. O’Halleran’s office in Washington, D.C. by the town council. Things finally started to move. Shortly after receiving the town’s letter about the post office, O’Halleran contacted the United States Postmaster General’s office directly. On Nov. 4, the congressman issued a letter to Postmaster General, Megan J. Brennan, formally requesting that the Postmaster give Springerville’s Post Office “full and fair consideration” for the maintenance that had been submitted — and turned down – “at least five times.”
A response letter from Brennan dated Nov. 21 arrived at O’Halleran’s office just weeks later, acknowledging the request and stating that the repainting project for Springerville’s post office was approved and going forward.
On Dec. 12, crews from a California contractor arrived to begin prep work on the building. They masked off the letters, windows, doors, and trim, and by noon, they had already put primer on two sides of the building. The post office will need more work once the weather cooperates long enough for paint, but it’s a very welcomed start to solving an old problem.
The workers and machinery out front of the post office is driving a lot of community interest, Springerville Postmaster Randy Ellis said. Caution tape is up all around the building, but access has not been affected aside from a few cordoned off parking spaces. On the inside, the post office was running normally. The repainting project should go quickly, causing little inconvenience to residents in the area. According to Postmaster General Brennan’s letter to O’Halleran, the project is “tentatively scheduled to be completed by the end of February 2020.”
Amber Shepard is an local journalist covering municipal governments and other Apache County topics.