Robert Inglis/The Daily Item drone photo This parcel of land in Point Township near Strong Industries is where Encina is looking to build a new recycling plant.

Economic development agency DRIVE (Driving Real Innovation for a Vibrant Economy) had a fruitful year in 2022, with projects such as high speed internet expansion and locating occupants for several Valley properties.

The Montour County-based organization took control of the former Sunbury Hospital property and had already sold a portion of the campus to Stone Fortress Homes, LLC. The plan is to refurbish 1200 Line St., Sunbury, and list it for sale when finished.

DRIVE Executive Director Jennifer Wakeman said previously she anticipates several announcements regarding the former hospital campus early in 2023.

In September, DRIVE purchased the 101-acre site along Route 11 in Point Township for Encina’s flagship circular manufacturing facility.

In 2022, Encina announced its state-of-the-art plant, the only one of its kind in the nation. It would use advanced, proven technologies to convert recycled plastic materials into a raw product that could be used by other manufacturers to create thousands of new plastic-type products.

The facility is expected to divert up to 450,000 tons of materials from landfills, incinerators and other less desirable endpoints. The facility will reduce the need to produce new plastic from oil and gas resources, providing sustainable solutions to customers committed to reducing their impact on the environment and catalyzing the transition to a circular economy.

Encina has signed a long-term lease with DRIVE for the site, where it plans to locate a first-of-its-kind operation utilizing advanced technologies to convert post-consumer plastic into feedstock that can be used to manufacture thousands of new products, according to DRIVE.

The Encina Point Township Circular Manufacturing Facility will bring 600 to 900 construction jobs and 300 full-time jobs to the area, with an average salary of $75,000, officials said.

“The region’s long history of manufacturing, robust educational institutions with relevant degrees and programs, and access to markets made it a natural fit for our facility,” Encina CEO David Roesser said at the time. “Encina is excited to formally partner with DRIVE, the region’s leading economic development team, on this critical step forward in bringing the project to life.”

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