Megan J. Brennan, Postmaster General of the United States and the chief executive officer of the world’s largest postal organization, visited Provo on Thursday.
The purpose of her visit is still unknown, but left to the rumor mill.
“The Postmaster General is visiting with customers and employees as part of National Postal Customer Council Week,” said Brian Sperry, regional spokesman for the U.S. Postal Service.
That said, an employee within the post office contacted the Daily Herald indicating Brennan’s visit could be more than just a social call. There is some indication that interested parties are looking at a potential new location for the downtown post office.
In fact, last week representatives from the Postal Service and the office of Congressman Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, were in town looking at potential locations, including the building that houses the Daily Herald, which is for sale but currently under contract.
Since President Thomas S. Monson of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints announced the burnt-out hull of the Provo Tabernacle would be restored and renovated and become the Provo City Center Temple, there has been much discussion and speculation about the church acquiring the post office facility adjacent to the temple grounds in downtown Provo.
In response to an email to LDS Church Public Affairs about potential negotiations or a purchase of the post office, spokeswoman Kristen Howey said, “All I can confirm is that we have not purchased the post office.”
It is no secret that postal workers, residents and stakeholders are hoping at least a face lift would happen to the facility, built in the 1960s, to match surrounding temple, Nu Skin headquarters and nearby gardens. The bigger hope is to find a new location for the office.
In a recent visit with the Daily Herald, Chaffetz was asked about the potential vacating or sale of the downtown post office.
He offered his opinion that a post office is needed in Provo, addressing concerns about the current downtown facility on 100 South.
“We can move it a few blocks without hampering ability to grow Provo,” he said.
The U.S. Postal Service is under the jurisdiction of the House Oversight Committee, of which Chaffetz is chair.
"We can't confirm much for you because of ongoing negotiations," said MJ Henshaw, spokeswoman for Chaffetz, about the Postmaster General visit Thursday. "We are working with all parties to try to resolve this and to get it done."
As far back as August 2013, U.S. Postal Service spokesman Robert Vunder acknowledged negotiations between the LDS Church and the federal government are ongoing. He also noted part of those negotiations would include the relocation of the post office to another downtown spot.
"We need the same level of service we currently have," Vunder said at the time.
That would include retail or counter service, and post office box services.
While Provo City administration has stayed on the outside loop of the issue, Provo Mayor John Curtis sent a letter to Chaffetz when the build-out of the temple began.
Curtis wrote, "The work the LDS Church is doing to rebuild its tabernacle and convert it into the Provo City Center Temple is playing a significant role in the life and vibrancy of our downtown business district. As the church's project moves forward, we've had several concerns expressed to city administrators by residents, elected officials and future patrons regarding the location of our downtown post office.
"The collective message is one of requesting the postal service allow the LDS Church to purchase the building and property in order to expand the temple project west."
For now, it is apparent that the Postal Service, LDS Church and Chaffetz are all aware of the desire for a change at the downtown post office.
When that will occur is not clear at this time.