SMITHVILLE — On the same day Smithville aldermen approved their new comprehensive plan, they also approved a new CDL driving school to move in at First Park industrial subdivision behind the Smithville Area Fire Protection District Station No. 2 where dirt has been moving for months.

The school was struggling to find land in Clinton County, Development Director Jack Hendrix said. They turned to him and he suggested they look at industrial zoned land in Smithville, the most appealing being land at Park Drive.

“They worked out a deal with the developer,” Hendrix added. “It will be on two lots on the left hand side.”

Learners will find the school spanning 9,000 square feet. The school will serve students from beginning to the end of their CDL education, including a partnership with FedEx to acquire driving hours.

As one of the city’s new comprehensive plan priorities to bring in more learning opportunities for adult learners as well as youth, the CDL school arguably appeared at a perfect time.

“In the comprehensive plan, this school hits several marks,” Hendrix said. “It brings additional education, career training and expands our industrial (imprint).”

Hendrix added there are a few lots spoken for at First Park, which will benefit the school district by way of property tax in the future. This land does not currently come with any tax increment financing.

“It also benefits the community because it will draw people to the area,” Hendrix said. “Those people will need to eat and may spend money in retail. The school will provide jobs, at least a few. … It is beneficial to everyone.”

It has been years since Smithville has seen industrial development, Hendrix said, adding it is a bit of a learning curve. He isn’t entirely sure what the land value is, what he is sure of is the desirability to be outside of Kansas City and away from its 1% earnings tax.

Construction on the school is slated to start in January or February, Hendrix added, depending on weather. As the school will require paving, construction is subject to asphalt companies, but Hendrix said he’s confident the school will be up and admitting students as soon as it can be.

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