Regional Commission News June 2018
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New Economic Analysis of the Arts and Cultural Industry in the City of Roanoke Released
Wayne Strickland, Executive Director of the Roanoke Valley Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) presented the results of this study to Roanoke City Council on June 4 at their morning session. The study was requested by the City of Roanoke as part of the RVARC’s FY 2018 work plan.

Sixteen organizations which provide programming to the region participated in the study based on FY 2016 data. The last study was conducted in 2013. Strickland presented the following notable statistics:

  • The Arts and Cultural sector supports over 200 full-time and part-time jobs.
  • The Arts and Cultural Industry helps generate $35.8 million in sales activity in the region because of new dollars attracted through visitation/tourism.
  • While typically not the sole destination or attraction, arts and cultural organizations play a very significant role in supporting tourism in the region.
  • The size and impact of the local industry sector based on the expenditures of arts and cultural organizations is $40.7 million 
  • Revenues increased by about $7 million since the last survey in 2013. A significant part of that was an endowment increase of $3.5 million but ticket sales and individual donations were also up. The 611 train excursions also contributed to increased sales.

Strickland noted that, over the years arts and cultural organizations have had a fairly significant economic impact on the economy of the Roanoke Valley. Although this study looked specifically at dollars spent by the local arts and cultural organizations and through visitor spending, we know that there are intangible impacts associated with a healthy arts and cultural scene, such as providing opportunities for students to participate in performing and visual arts activities and creating a strong positive perception of the Roanoke Valley by visitors and businesses.

For more information contact:

Wayne G. Strickland , Executive Director, Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission at 540.343.4417 or wstrickland@rvarc.org or Susan Jennings, Arts and Culture Coordinator, City of Roanoke at 540-853-5652 or susan.jennings@roanokeva.gov.
RVTPO Approves Two Amendments at June 28 Meeting
At the April 28th RVTPO Policy Board meeting amendments to the Constrained Long-Range Multimodal Transportation Plan, Vision 2040: Roanoke Valley Transportation, and the FY2018-2021 Transportation Improvement Program were approved. 

The purpose of the Long-Range Plan amendment was to:

  1. Include in the fiscally constrained list recently approved FY19/20 Transportation Alternatives and FY19-24 Regional Surface Transportation Program (RSTP) projects as well as new projects that have received funding as outlined in the FY19-24 Six-Year Improvement Program that are not currently in the constrained list.
  2. Include in the fiscally constrained or vision list projects desired by local governments for which SMART SCALE round 3 or other upcoming funding opportunities are being pursued.
  3. Per federal legislation, reflect on how safety performance measure targets are being pursued.  

Amendment #2 to the Transportation Improvement Program sought to:

  1. Add a variety of projects which have been allocated federal funding since its initial adoption;
  2. Include the purchase of two minivans with ramps by Lutheran Family Services of Virginia in FY19; and
  3. Include language addressing recent federal regulations requiring performance measurement targets and how the program of projects in the TIP contributes to achieving the TPO's performance targets in the Long-Range Transportation Plan, linking investment priorities to those targets.

Both amended documents can be found on the RVTPO website at www.rvtpo.org.
Regional Commission Conducts Point In Time Homelessness Counts
As part of the ongoing work of the Blue Ridge Interagency Council on Homelessness (BRICH), the annual Point in Time counts of sheltered and unsheltered individuals experiencing homelessness in the region, occurred on the night of January 24, 2018. Volunteers with the BRICH, the Continuum of Care, and local students conducted the survey. Recently, the 2018 Point in Time Survey Report was released. Summary findings in the Report are as follows:

  • On January 24 2018, 317 people were experiencing homelessness in the Roanoke Region. A majority, 96.5%, (306) were staying in emergency shelters, and 3.5% (11) were in unsheltered locations.
  • 18.3 percent (58) of people experiencing homelessness were children, 74.4% (236) were over the age of 24, and 5.7 percent (18) were between the ages of 18 and 24.
  • Between 2017 and 2018, the number of people experiencing homelessness in the Roanoke Region (including Alleghany County) increased by 18.7%. (267 in 2017 to 317 in 2018).
  • Homelessness decreased among people staying in unsheltered locations by 35.3%. (17 in 2017 to 11 in 2018)
  • A trend of decreasing numbers since 2012 in the Roanoke Region shows that homelessness has decreased by 43.5% (561 in 2012 to 317 in 2018).

The BRICH is housed and staffed by the Regional Commission. For more information on the Point in Time Report, visit our website at http://rvarc.org/community/homelessness/.
Regional Commission and Region 2000 Host Joint Meeting
The Region 2000 Local Government Council and the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission hosted a Joint Meeting of our two organizations on Thursday, June 7, 2018 at the Vinton War Memorial.

The purpose of the joint meeting was to provide an opportunity for our members to meet and discuss issues of common interest to both commissions.

The Virginia Secretary of Transportation, The Honorable Shannon Valentine, was the keynote speaker at this event. Commonwealth Transportation Board Member Court Rosen was also on hand to participate in the discussions.

Gary Christie, Executive Director of the Region 2000 Local Government Council, explained the concurrent group discussion exercises and attendees moved to one of three groups:

  • Group 1 - Connecting to Each Other and the World (Dorian Allen & Scott Smith)
  • Group 2 - Economic Growth While Preserving Corridors (Ed Wells & Gary Christie)
  • Group 3 - Creative Implementation of Initiatives in a Resource Constrained Environment (Wayne Strickland & Kelly Hitchcock)

The meeting was well attended with approximately 40 people in attendance.

For more information, contact Ed Wells, ewells@rvarc.org.
2018 Greenway Plan Approved by Greenway Commission
The Regional Commission congratulates the Greenway Commission on approving the 2018 Roanoke Valley Greenway Plan at their meeting on June 27, 2018.

For more information on the approved plan, please visit Greenways.org.
Regional Commission Analyzes U.S. Census Commuter Data
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission staff has collected data from the US Census based on the 2009-2013 American Community Survey data. This data shows the commuting patterns between the Roanoke, Lynchburg, and Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford Metropolitan Statistical Areas (MSA). 

Their findings are below.
  • 9,241 people commute from the Lynchburg MSA to the Roanoke MSA. 
  • 9,211 people commute from Bedford County to the Roanoke MSA.
  • 5,345 people commute from Bedford County to Roanoke City.
  • 1,316 commute from the Roanoke to the Lynchburg MSA.
  • 4,436 people commute from the Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA to the Roanoke MSA.
  • 2,323 people commute from the Roanoke MSA to the B-C-R MSA. 
  • 7,507 people commute from Franklin County to the remainder of the Roanoke MSA.
  • 4,072 people commute from Botetourt County to Roanoke County, Salem City or Roanoke City.
  • 1,341 people commute from Franklin County to Martinsville and Henry County.
  • 1,026 people commute from Craig County to the remainder of the Roanoke MSA.

This data shows a reduction of 866 commuters from the Lynchburg MSA to the Roanoke MSA since 2013, except for a slight increase in commuters from Bedford County to the Roanoke MSA. There has also been a decrease of 550 commuters from the Roanoke MSA to the Lynchburg MSA. There have similar reductions of commuters between the Roanoke MSA and the B-C-R MSA, with a decrease of 999 commuters from the B-C-R MSA to the Roanoke MSA, although there has been little to no change in the flow of commuters from the Roanoke MSA to the B-C-R MSA. Some of these changes could be due to data collection methodologies.

For more information, contact Matt Miller, mmiller@rvarc.org.
Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee Hosts First Meeting
The Regional Bicycle & Pedestrian Advisory Committee met for the first time since its transition from an informal, bicycle-focused committee to a formalized, bike/ped-focused committee on June 21. It will next meet on August 30, 2018, 4:00 – 6:00 pm.

For more information on the committee, or to get involved, visit its web page at:

Contact Rachel at rruhlen@rvarc.org or (540) 343-4417 for more information.
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission in the News

Article by: The Roanoke Times

For more information on the Blueway map, contact Amanda McGee, amcgee@rvarc.org
Ongoing Projects
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is always working with localities on projects that benefit the region. Some of these projects are listed below.

  • Craig County Comprehensive Plan Update
  • Alleghany County Wrightsville Neighborhood CDBG Planning Grant
  • Alleghany Highlands Broadband Planning Effort
  • Rural Transit Study
  • Stormwater Assistance
  • Vinton Zoning Assistance
  • Working with Franklin County on "Aging in Place" issues
  • Working with local governments, tourism organizations, and the private sector on a promotional campaign for the Roanoke River Blueway
  • Working with the regional local foods partners to examine "Food Hub" needs in the region

For more information on ongoing projects contact  Tim Pohlad-Thomas   or visit  RVARC.org .