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American Canyon post office

The city of American Canyon wants a new post office to replace the existing one, said to be too small and understaffed for a city of 20,000 residents.

Noel Brinkerhoff, Eagle

The American Canyon City Council has formally requested the U.S. Postal Service for a new, larger post office for the city, and collected a bounty of information to back up their request.

City leaders and community members have complained for years about the existing post office, located next to the library off Crawford Way.

The portable building was set up in 2001 as a “temporary measure,” according to officials, but lacks the size and services needed to support a city of 20,000 people.

Council members unanimously approved a resolution on Dec. 5 that asks the Postal Service to develop a permanent home that can adequately handle American Canyon’s mail services.

“Over the years our population has grown quite a bit, but our post office has not,” said Deanna Parness, assistant to the city manager.

The city was less than half its current size when the Postal Service 16 years ago set up the portable facility, which was previously used in Los Angeles during the 1984 Olympic games, according to Parness.

“It’s one of those things that’s overdue,” said Mayor Leon Garcia of getting a new post office.

The building is only 324 square feet — “comparable to a master bedroom in a new home,” a report prepared for the City Council stated.

The post office is staffed by a single employee, and is open a total of 28 hours each week. It opens at 10:30 a.m., closes for lunch, and shuts down at 4 p.m.

Parness said a survey of 650 residents revealed most people want something better.

“The message was overwhelmingly clear that people are not happy and think that we deserve an adequate post office in American Canyon,” said Parness.

In addition to survey data, the city identified three locations in town that have space for lease and could house a larger post office:

  • Napa Junction II Shopping Center (adjacent to Round Table Pizza)
  • Canyon Plaza Shopping Center (close proximity to the existing facility)
  • City Hall (which has available space on the first floor)

City staff also compiled information on other post offices in the Napa Valley to show how unfair American Canyon’s situation is.

For instance, Angwin — with a population of 3,051 people — has a postal facility that’s 6,300 square feet, or nearly 20 times larger than the one in American Canyon.

“The numbers are kind of appalling,” said Councilmember Mark Joseph.

Joseph acknowledged the assistance of Congressman Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, who has been lobbying the Postal Service on behalf of American Canyon.

Thompson is “our patron saint of postal services,” said Joseph.

On October 17, Thompson wrote a letter to Megan Brennan, postmaster general and chief executive officer of the Postal Service, urging her to “improve and significantly expand its operations” in American Canyon.

The city “deserves a permanent, fully-staffed, full-service post office,” Thompson wrote.

A month earlier Thompson hosted a town hall meeting in American Canyon to solicit feedback from residents about their post office.

Councilmember Mariam Aboudamous said she was recently visiting the post office when a district-level postal worker was there measuring the size of the building.

Aboudamous said she overheard the official remark how “crowded” it was inside the tiny operation, which often has a line of customers going out the door.

She said she talked to the official, and he told her he was instructed to “get you guys a bigger post office,” according to Aboudamous.

“So I think the wheels are already turning,” she said. “That was great news.”