BEMIDJI --The United States Postal Service plans to merge the Bemidji mail processing center into the Fargo processing and distribution facility in July, the USPS announced Friday.

The Bemidji Post Office itself will remain open. Mail sent from Bemidji will now go to Fargo for processing.

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"This decision...will allow us to make better use of excess space and equipment, as well as process mail more efficiently," the USPS said in a release. "The Postal Service understands that consumer use of mail is changing, and we are making necessary operational adjustments to adapt to the evolving needs of the American public. Consolidating operations such as this is necessary if the Postal Service is to remain viable to provide mail service to the nation."

The release said "(s)taffing changes will be made in compliance with applicable law, collective bargaining agreements, and Postal Service regulations and policies."

The Bemidji processing center was previously threatened with closure in 2012, but USPS gave Bemidji and other facilities a reprieve in order to further study the impacts of closing.

The USPS had initially planned to merge Bemidji's processing center with the facility in Minneapolis as part of a nationwide "network rationalization."

It is unknown how many people at the Bemidji office will be impacted, but a 2012 Pioneer article put the number of processing employees there at six.

Pete Nowacki, USPS spokesman for Minnesota, said there were no plans for layoffs at Bemidji, although there would be "assignment changes" and it was possible some employees would be moved to other facilities, "although not necessarily Fargo."

"The decision to consolidate mail processing was announced more than two years ago," Nowacki said in an email. "Today's announcement is simply a change in the destination from Minneapolis to Fargo."