Postal Service to spend $82 million on new mail-processing center

Thu January 13, 2005 - National Edition

SCARBOROUGH, Maine (AP) The U.S. Postal Service has approved $82 million for the construction of a new mail processing and distribution center on the Scarborough-South Portland line, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said Tuesday.

Construction will begin this summer and is expected to be completed by April 2007 on the 429,000-square-foot facility. The project also includes the renovation of an existing plant at the same site, officials said.

The U.S. Postal Service Board of Governors voted Tuesday to approve funding for the Southern Maine Processing and Distribution Center.

The new plant, designed to replace the existing facility in Portland, would cover 10 acres and employ more than 800 people.

"The new mail processing and distribution center in Scarborough-South Portland will not only help to improve postal operations in Maine, but also will create a number of construction jobs and benefit the economy," Collins said.

The postal service has been considering a new center since 1996 when a report showed the Portland plant was much too small.

After a search of sites along the Maine Turnpike from Scarborough to Lewiston-Auburn, the postal service chose the Scarborough site in 2000.

But the proposal stalled in 2002 due to budget constraints at the postal service and the costly clean-up arising from the anthrax scares that followed Sept. 11, 2001.