Postal officials nearing announcement for new Washington Post Office site

The preferred new site for the U.S. Post Office serving the Rappahannock County seat of Washington likely will be announced this month after final on-site inspections of several potential locations.

Rick Hancock, a U.S. Postal Service real estate specialist based in Raleigh, N.C., told the Rappahannock News that he is scheduled to be back in Rappahannock County this first week of August and shortly thereafter he will present the Postal Site Review Committee with his final list of recommendations.

“I present what the alternatives are, the pros and cons from a real estate design and construction perspective. The Postal Site Review Committee then ranks them,” Hancock said. “It’s a direction as opposed to a decision.”

The preferred location, he said, will then be announced around mid-to-late August.

Postal officials had announced last October that the busy Post Office at 389 Main Street in Washington will have to move to a new location “in or near” the town, but not beyond the boundaries of zip code 22747.

Washington Mayor John Fox Sullivan, upon receiving the news, stressed: “My goal, our goal as a town, is to find space that makes sense for them in the town.”

“That is our goal,” Hancock agreed before. “Obviously we would want to stay in Washington itself, but that’s [only] a couple of blocks here and there.”

The Post Office has been in its current space — which it leases on a month-to-month basis from town councilman and Inn at Little Washington owner Patrick O’Connell — since the early 1980s. But Hancock said there is need for larger, more efficiently designed space, partly due to the increase of large package deliveries from online shippers.

Currently the Post Office space is 1900 square feet. Hancock said adequate room for Postal trucks to load, unload and park has been key in considering the final new location.

Moving the Post Office outside town limits would arguably impact the perceived business vitality of the county seat of Washington, given it’s among the last remaining gathering spots for residents conducting daily business there.

“It was saddening to see the library move out of town and the bank move out of town,” O’Connell had agreed when discussing the move. “Naturally, I hope a more suitable location, central to the town, can be discovered for the [Post Office].”

“They prefer to be in the town of Washington,” Sullivan said last October. “And if there is nothing acceptable in the town then they are open to doing something in the zip code of Washington, which likely means out on [Route] 211 somewhere.”

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John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at