COOKEVILLE – Putnam County has been chosen to participate in the fall round of the Select Tennessee Property Evaluation Program (PEP), Department of Economic and Community Development officials announced last week.
Launched in 2015, PEP aims to improve the inventory of industrial sites and buildings in Tennessee. The program provides counties with tools to make themselves more marketable to potential new business. In collaboration with Austin Consulting, a leading site selection consultant, the program provides professional advice.
Five counties, overall, were chosen for the fall round. Besides Putnam, Decatur, Greene, Grundy and Hickman were also picked. Twenty have gone through the program to date.
“What’s unique this round is that each county is located in a different Tennessee region, which is evidence that communities throughout the entire state have a shared desire to become more marketable, recruit new business and inevitably improve the lives of their citizens,” TNECD Commissioner Randy Boyd said.
Austin Consulting will visit each community to evaluate candidate properties, assess community attributes and meet with local officials, staff and stakeholders. From this visit, Austin will prepare a report that addresses each property’s strengths and weaknesses and recommend steps to take to improve the marketability of the property and community.
“The Property Evaluation Program allows for an honest assessment of a county’s potential industrial sites and existing industrial buildings,” added Jonathan Gemmen, director of Austin Consulting, said. “Moreover, it creates an opportunity to build consensus on which properties have the greatest chance of bringing jobs and capital investment to a community.”
Putnam is just the latest UC county to participate in the program. In the spring, Van Buren and White were selected. Last September, Cumberland and Overton were also chosen for the program, PEP’s inaugural year.
To apply for Select Tennessee PEP, interested counties must first fill out a letter of intent, which is accepted at any time. Upon receipt of a letter, counties will receive an application. TNECD then selects the communities based on the local need for industrial properties and the county’s ability to assemble up to five viable properties with market potential.