Since 1974, the Minden Post Office has been a popular gathering place at the corner of Ninth Street and Highway 395.
Home to 2,900 mail boxes, the post office is so handy, some patrons who live in Gardnerville pass up home delivery, and stop daily at the rectangular building to collect mail and greet neighbors.
"It's just so convenient," said Judy Keele, dashing in from the parking lot one wintry evening. "I would hate to see it close."
Mekoh Fawn Benbrooks of Gardnerville said she stops three or four times a week on her way home from work at North Sails near the Minden-Tahoe Airport.
"Originally, we lived in Minden and now we're renting in Gardnerville," she said. "We like the people here and the location."
Sentimentality aside, the U.S. Postal Service has decided the facility is too small, and has set a Sept. 30 deadline to locate a 2-acre site.
Garry Mattox, real estate specialist for the Postal Service, addressed the Minden Town Board on Wednesday to explain the procedure.
"The process doesn't start until I show up at a public meeting which is why I am here tonight," Mattox said.
He told the board the Postal Service lifted a moratorium and began funding new facilities.
"They recently started releasing money, and I was there to grab as much money for Minden that I could," Mattox said.
Preliminary steps include an assessment by the post office of the current site as to suitability.
"They're going to say, 'no,'" Mattox said.
Next, the Postal Service determines whether the site can be expanded to meet the new requirements.
Mattox doesn't believe that will happen because the new post office is to be 8,200 square feet, nearly twice the size of the 4,575-square-foot building that sits on a .630 acre site.
The Postal Service determines if there is an existing building in Minden which could accommodate the post office and has enough property for parking.
If none of those options is available, the post office puts out a bid for 30 days for property, followed by a national bid for construction.
"It's going to be a grand building," Mattox said. "It will exceed all codes."
He said the inside of the building is Postal Service standard, "like McDonald's."
But the landscaping would conform to the town requirements.
Responding to town board members' concerns that the post office would be located too far away, Mattox said the Postal Service tries to build in the vicinity of the old building.
"We always try to stay as close to the current post office as possible," he said.
"We won't build next to an elementary school because of the traffic volume in and out of the post office, and we try to be on a corner so senior citizens and others have a safe side street for access," he said.
"Also, we don't build next to a gas station because we don't want anything leaking on our property," Mattox said.
Minden Postmistress Deby Parrish said she had requested that the new post office be located no further than the new Muller Lane intersection at Highway 395 about 1-1/2 miles north of the current building.
Mattox said the Postal Service would pay fair market value for the property, and would own the new facility.
The building is leased from John and Bonnie Adamick of Burbank, Calif.