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U.S. Postal Service officials hope that before the close of a community meeting tonight, their Great Valley customers will reach consensus on the site that has been singled out from a number of bids being considered to build a new post office.

A new 4,000-square-foot structure would replace the tiny post office located near a busy intersection on Route 219 and flanked by three sets of temporary metal postal boxes. Plans include air conditioning, a large 24-hour lobby with access for the handicapped, lockers where customers can retrieve parcels when workers are off-duty, and a parking lot for customers and employees.

The volume of mail at the facility has grown in recent years, and 995 rural delivery and box customers are now served out of the tiny facility.

"There's no room to turn around. There's mail all over, on the floor and on the counter. I just hold my breath. I just want to get a new post office," said Post Office Manager Anne Vogtli.

Owners of land situated along Route 219 between Peth Road and Brewer Cross were invited in January to offer parcels of land to the Postal Service. Since 1995, the Great Valley Fire Department has tried to gain support for its offer of a site near the new fire hall, half a block from the highway.

But that site is not one of two finalists reportedly under consideration.

Mrs. Vogtli declined to give specific details about the front-runner, a four-acre property offered by resident Donald Hall and located in the northern part of the hamlet, or about a second unidentified parcel.

The two candidates were recently selected after the search was expanded in January to include potential sites as far south as Peth Road. That move also came after 300 residents signed petitions to keep the facility centrally located.

All residents and post office customers were sent an invitation Thursday to attend the meeting set for 7 tonight in Town Hall.

If a consensus is not reached, the decision will fall to regional postal officials, Mrs. Vogtli said.

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