CUMBERLAND — The U.S. Marine Bayliner plant in Mexico Farms will close its doors by the end of this year, according to a press release from Brunswick Corp., the parent company of Bayliner headquarters in Lake Forest, Ill.

The plant manufactures Trophy offshore fishing boats and its operations will be moved to another Brunswick facility in Ashland City, Tenn. The closure will eliminate approximately 115 jobs.

Allegany County Economic Director Matt Diaz said the county was notified Friday morning.

“We heard rumors (Thursday) that that, in fact, was the case,” he said, “and we were able to confirm that (Friday) morning.”

Diaz said given the state of the national economy, the closing wasn’t totally unexpected. However, Diaz was a bit surprised, saying earlier this week, after talking with someone at the corporate end of things, the county was led to believe that Brunswick was still looking at Cumberland as a place to transfer production. He said the decision to close the plant was made in that short time.

“Looking at the short-term, things are slowing down,” Diaz said. “From an immediate standpoint, it may not rectify itself in the next month or two. It may be a slow process but hopefully we will get better nationally and hopefully get companies back in full strength.”

Diaz said the area has been successful in helping companies grow, both locally and regionally, which will provide opportunity for those workers at Bayliner. He said the county is talking to a telecommunications company that’s exploring the idea of expansion, which would bring in approximately 200 jobs.

No one at the plant was available to comment Friday because it is closed until Monday, according to its switchboard operator.

The workers will go on a three-week furlough around Thanksgiving as the production shutdown begins. The company said workers will receive severance and outplacement assistance.

Brunswick Chair and Chief Executive Officer Dustan E. McCoy said the closing of Cumberland’s plant is in no way a reflection upon the work force or product.

“As previously announced, Brunswick has been following through on a number of measures to reduce expenses and resize the company to compete in the global marine market,” McCoy said. “Over the past two years, we have closed 12 other North American boat plants, in addition to Cumberland, and have continually reduced production rates throughout our marine businesses.”

Daniel Kubera, director of media relations and corporate communications, supported the notion of difficult times in the marine market and the need to take a number of steps to resize the company and prepare to move forward.

“These are very difficult decisions to make,” Kubera said. “We realize they affect families and communities and we don’t take these decisions lightly.”

The closure of Bayliner’s Plant No. 2 was announced in November 2006. That decision also resulted in the loss of 115 jobs of the approximate 255 local workers at that time.

Brunswick Corp. makes a wide range of products that include fitness equipment and billiard balls.

Contact Tess Hill at thill@times-news.com.. The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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