This region took some bitter economic news yesterday when it was revealed that Erie's Meadow Brook Dairy will close later this year after 86 years in business. However, Erie News Now is learning today that the number of employees to be placed out of work is not as bad as originally thought.

It was feared that up to 120 people would be out of work when the plant closes, probably in September. But now, the official word is that 75 people will be let go, and 50 people will keep their jobs.    

Jake Rouch, Vice-President of Economic Development for the Erie Regional Chamber and Growth Partnership, received a call from a Dean Foods executive late yesterday afternoon.  Rouch was told the 50 employees, who will be retained, are truck drivers.  Although the Meadow Brook plant on Buffalo Road will be closed, Dean Foods will obtain a smaller property in Erie to run the distribution operation, according to Rouch.

"Obviously, we asked the question, 'What can we do to potentially turn this around?' We were told point blank, 'This is a final decision," Rouch said.

Rouch says he was told some of the milk production that currently is being done in Erie, will eventually be transferred to the Dean Foods plant in Sharpsville, Mercer County.

Also, Rouch will be working with Dean Foods to market the Meadow Brook property so another company can move in and create jobs.