May is National Bike Month - an annual celebration to increase awareness and participation in bicycling, and showcase its many health and environmental benefits. The most popular day of Bike Month, Bike to Work Day, has been rescheduled to September 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
TheBike the Valley and RideShare programs, administered by the CSPDC, have created a digital social media campaign to bring public awareness to bicycling in our region. The campaign will be featured throughout the month in addition to important public safety reminders associated with cycling and outdoor activities.
Every two years, applicants in our region submit applications in SMART SCALE, which funds up to 100% of a transportation project’s cost through a competitive scoring process. CSPDC partnered with multiple local governments to submit a record 17 SMART SCALE pre-applications on April 17, 2020.
On April 17, the State GO Virginia Board approved funding for the Scale-up the Valley program coordinated by the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP). The project will utilize the expertise and resources of the National Center for Economic Gardening (National Center) to provide region-wide business support services to traded-sector companies.
In preparation for Hurricane Season starting June 1 and running through November 30, the National Weather Service hosts the annual Hurricane Preparedness Week – an awareness and preparedness outreach campaign.
In the Central Shenandoah Region, many of the most devastating floods have come from tropical hurricane systems.
The CSPDC partnered with the Town of Elkton and VDOT to develop a town-wide Pedestrian Masterplan to prioritize the Town’s investments in pedestrian infrastructure. The CSPDC helped evaluate the condition of the Town’s existing pedestrian network, and developed an evaluation criteria to prioritize each of the 20 potential sidewalk projects that the Town can include in its comprehensive plan, future capital improvement plans, and as a baseline for future grant funding applications.
For over 50 years, the CSPDC has been providing planning services and technical assistance to its member jurisdictions. One of many resources provided by the CSPDC is the Grant Resource Guide that contains regularly updated information on many of the grants available in our region. The Grant Resource Guide lists state and federal grant sources and links to grant agency websites. These grant resources are categorized by funding and project types, including opportunities related to COVID-19.
The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced its plan to award $19 million through their Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) in Fiscal Year 2021. VATI provides last-mile broadband services to unserved areas across the Commonwealth.
Despite the disruptions, the 2020 U.S. Census rolls on. Nationwide emphasis created a surge on Census Day, April 1, with more than 4,000,000 households completing their 2020 Census forms that day alone. According to Director Steven Dillingham, 74,000,000 households—more than half nationwide—have now self-responded.
In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, employees of the CSPDC have been teleworking from home. While we practice social distancing, the CSPDC is still working hard on community projects and services to benefit our region.