WASHINGTON/CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) — Washington and Carter counties were chosen to participate in a round of the Select Tennessee Property Evaluation Program (PEP), the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development announced on Wednesday.

The program is described as a valuable tool for land development, assesses properties for industrial use and makes suggestions on inventory improvements.

Counties are considered individually, a release from the city of Johnson City said; however, Washington and Carter were awarded the PEP program after submitting a joint application that emphasized strong regional partnerships.

“The combined application gave both counties the best opportunity to secure a spot in the PEP,” said Elizabethton Assistant City Manager Logan Engle. “Our region’s industrial sites can yield higher capital investment, increased tax revenues, and economic growth. This partnership with Washington County will secure jobs for our combined citizenry.”

Both counties identified inventory for potential industrial development, the release said. The sites consist of public and privately owned properties.

Site selection firm Austin Consulting will visit each potential location and give Washington and Carter counties an assessment of industrial potential for each property, following the on-site examinations.

“Through the Select Tennessee Property Evaluation Program, Carter and Washington counties are embarking on an exciting journey toward enhancing their economic competitiveness,” said Site Development Director Kirby Lewis-Gill for the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development.

The program will reportedly provide Washington and Carter counties with an “honest appraisal of cost-effectiveness” and an evaluation of land use possibilities.

“This region is primed for robust growth and by securing a spot in the PEP, we are taking the initial step in gathering knowledge about the potential for selected properties,” said Johnson City Economic Development Director Alicia Summers. “This program will give us hard data on the best and highest use for land development. This will appeal to industrial developers as they weigh the risk and reward for bringing their business to Carter and Washington counties.”