AUBURN - Ithaca Gun Company, long eyeing a move from its plant in King Ferry to Auburn, is now operating from the former Johnston Paper facility on Allen Street in the city's industrial park.

Katrinka Ryan, finance manager for the 124-year-old company, was at the economic development summit Thursday night and announced the move.

She said Ithaca Gun opened on Allen Street April 25 with help from the city's office of planning and economic development.

The company had outgrown its former site, in a converted school on Route 34B, where it had been for 17 years. The move to Auburn came after nearly a year of effort; the Auburn Industrial Development Agency was also involved.

Company officials said they wanted to move to Auburn to take advantage of energy benefits and a large labor pool.

Ryan expects all of Ithaca Gun's manufacturing functions to be transferred to Auburn by the end of the week. The company, she said, employs just under 50 people.

"We've had some problems, but we have a new team of management," she said. "We're in a better position."

Ithaca Gun Company earlier this year had a $12,000 judgment filed against it by a Watertown educational television station because the gun manufacturer had agreed to underwrite a hunting show, but never paid. Several other judgments were filed against the company for unpaid bills as well and there were problems with the state Department of Labor regarding unemployment insurance payments. The labor department said in February the issue was being resolved.

Cayuga County Director of Planning and Economic Development David Miller, who was at the economic development summit, said Ithaca Gun moving into Auburn showed a significant commitment by the company to the area.

"I've had a 10-year relationship with Ithaca Gun," Miller said. "I was talking with people there and they told me there were problems with their facility and they needed a more effective location. This is an important company for the city and county."

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