SMITH COUNTY, Texas (KETK) – The Smith County Commissioners Court gave the go-ahead to use $4.5 million from their American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding to construct a new business park, that could positively impact the county’s economy.
Scott Martinez, the Tyler Economic Development Council President and CEO, mentioned to commissioners that the county has lost business opportunities because there wasn’t a business park to attract larger companies.
TEDC said they found 412 acres south of Interstate 20, west of Highway 155 and east of County Road 336. According to Martinez, if the county builds the new road for the business park, a tenant might occupy the location.
“TEDC would purchase the property, contingent on the prospective company’s decision to move forward with a project on the property. All of the agreements are dependent on the other and reliant on the County building the road to serve the new proposed business park,” said Martinez.
Martinez did not say what company was interested. He said they might invest more than $30 million and employ 100 people. The company would also occupy 150 acres in the business park and this would leave 262 acres for other businesses.
Martinez said this could be the biggest real estate project the TEDC has seen in the past 34 years since they were established.
“This is a perfect example of what we wanted to do with ARPA funds. It will add $30 million to the tax base immediately,” Precinct 3 Commissioner Terry Phillips said. He also mentioned the new employees might also purchase homes in Smith County.
County Judge Nathaniel Moran said the county will at maximum only use $4.5 million to construct the road. The county will only build the road if TEDC purchases the land, but they stated they will only do this if the company decides to come to Smith County.
In total, the county received $45 million through ARPA funds from the government for COVID-19 relief.
The new road would be near the interstate and could be used by other people to travel from Highway 155 to CR 336. City leaders said the road would include 1.5 miles of industrial roadway for heavy trucks and it would be 35-40 feet wide.
“It’s a great location,” Precinct 1 Commissioner Neal Franklin said. “It’s just a wonderful opportunity.”