The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
 April 2018
Bill Shelton Receives Vision Award at DDAA Conference

CSPDC Executive Director Bonnie Riedesel and 200 local development officials from Appalachia gathered last month at the Development District Association of Appalachia annual conference in Arlington. Topics at the conference ranged from renewable energy as an economic growth opportunity to policy proposals for addressing aging infrastructure to combating the opioid crisis.

At the Conference Awards Ceremony, Mr. William Shelton, former Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development Director and Appalachian Regional Commission Alternate for the state of Virginia was presented with the 2018 John D. Whisman Vision Award. The award honors his efforts to relieve the deep-seated problems of Appalachia, promote systems of federal, state and local cooperation and further the mission of the Appalachian Regional Commission and the local development districts.
CSPDC Helps Bring $27M in Investments to the Region

One of the more important services provided by the CSPDC to its member jurisdictions is writing grants and finding ways to bring additional financial resources into the region. Over the past 45 years, the CSPDC has worked to help find and create investments for a multitude of public projects and programs including economic and community development, flood mitigation, disaster preparedness training, broadband, water and sewer projects, environmental planning, transportation planning, affordable housing, recreational facilities, and bicycle and pedestrian planning.

For every $1 the CSPDC has received in local dues, it has leveraged approximately $36 in state and federal funds over the last ten years. And over the past four fiscal years, these efforts have brought in more than $27.5 million in new investments to the region.
Project Evaluating Business Sites through CSPDC On-Call Program

In the Fall of 2016, the CSPDC procured the services of six firms for its On-Call Consultant Program . The purpose of the program is to offer CSPDC member jurisdictions and other eligible entities access to these firms for professional and nonprofessional services in the areas of transportation, civil engineering, environmental and general planning services. During the past 15 months, contracts for 13 projects valued at close to $500,000 have been issued through the On-Call Consultant Program.
One of the projects currently underway is the Valley Site Characterization Project. Draper Aden Associates has been procured to evaluate 15 business/industrial sites in 8 localities. Using the Virginia Business Ready Sites program tier level criteria, the analysis of the sites will include existing land cover, zoning, topography, on-site and off-site infrastructure, transportation and utilities such as water, sewer, electricity, gas and broadband.
Wildfire and Hazards Survey Released to Gather Public Input

The CSPDC, along with the Regional All Hazards Mitigation Plan Committee, have launched an online survey of the region's residents to gauge their perceptions about vulnerability to natural hazards. The survey will also gather input about their willingness to implement preparedness and mitigation measures to protect their families, homes, and businesses.  The responses will be incorporated into the Central Shenandoah Valley Wildfire Protection Plan and the Central Shenandoah Valley All Hazards Mitigation Plan. With all of the natural disasters and human-induced disasters across the country this past year, the survey will be an important way that residents can help first responders understand the hazard readiness of residents in the region.  Please share the survey link with your friends, colleagues, and neighbors here in the Central Shenandoah Valley.
Catch the Fields of Gold Series on WHSV

WHSV's Claire Richardson recently produced a four-part series on the Fields of Gold Farm Trail that features farm trail members throughout our region titled Exploring the Fields of Gold Farm Trail. The series features many of the Fields of Gold members, including My Peeps Farm, Mount Crawford Creamery, Barren Ridge Vineyards, and Brothers Craft Brewing. Watch the series HERE. 
CSPDC Creates Economic Asset Web App

CSPDC has created an economic asset web app that allows users to discover business and quality of life assets for the 10 localities in the CSPDC region.  Each locality has a tab with a short description and link to their Economic Development pages.  Users can click on locality features in the interactive map to find more information, including demographic data such as population, median age, cost of living, and unemployment rates. Users can also view industrial/business parks and business incentive zones in the CSPDC region.

BRITE Installing New Display Racks

BRITE Transit posters and brochures will soon be on display at partner and community organizations and agencies in the service region. These new transit racks will include a customized poster based on the display location, a full BRITE system map, and times when the bus stops at that particular location.

Look for these new BRITE displays in the following locations:
* Shenandoah Valley Social Services - Waynesboro
* Shenandoah Valley Social Services - Verona
* Blue Ridge Community College
* Augusta Health
* Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center
* Augusta County Library - Fishersville
* Augusta County Library - Stuarts Draft
* Staunton Public Library
* Waynesboro Public Library
* Middle River Regional Jail
* City of Staunton
* City of Waynesboro
* Augusta County
HRMPO Long Range Transportation Plan Amendment Open House

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization ( HRMPO) will host a public open house on April 26 from 4-6 PM in the Rockingham County Government Center Community Room.  HRMPO and VDOT staff will share the new performance-based project evaluation methodology and updates to the Long Range Transportation Plan, as well as the newly-evaluated and scored list of Vision Projects for the region. The new methodology closely follows how VDOT and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation score projects in the SMART SCALE process, and is intended to inform regional and local decision-makers of effective transportation investments.
VMI Awarded Grant for Chessie Trail South River Bridge

Virginia Military Institute (VMI) has been awarded a $1 million dollar grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation Eastern Federal Lands Access Program to build a new pedestrian bridge for the Chessie Trail over the South River. The original bridge, which was built on a 1914 steel trestle from the days of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad's spur to Lexington, was washed into the river nearly 15 years ago by Hurricane Isabel. There has been no pedestrian crossing on the Chessie Trail since, forcing trail users to detour on a narrow vehicular bridge just upstream. CSPDC staff was part of a grant-writing team to apply for the project. Construction is expected to begin in Spring 2019.
VDOT Announces Land Use and Transportation Forum

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham MPO (HRMPO) and VDOT Staunton District Planning staff will make a joint presentation at the VDOT Land Use and Transportation Forum on May 10. The presentation will focus on how the HRMPO overcame challenges in connecting land use and transportation decision-making during the 2040 Long Range Transportation Plan amendment. During the successful process, local and regional planners formed working groups that shared information, pooled staff resources, and developed a performance-based project evaluation methodology that prioritizes transportation projects.
CTB to Host Public Hearing May 3

The Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is hosting a public hearing on May 3, from 4-6 PM at the Staunton Holiday Inn Conference Center. This hearing is to provide the public the opportunity to review and comment on transportation projects that have been recommended for funding in the FY 2019-2024 Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). Projects recommended for the FY 2019-2024 SYIP include interstate highway, primary road, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and public transportation initiatives.  Verbal and written comments will be accepted at the public hearing and may also be submitted by email or mail by May 30, 2018.
New Training Series Addresses Rental Housing Shortage

A recent assessment of housing in rural Virginia concluded that there is not enough rental housing to meet the needs of residents, particularly younger residents or seniors looking to downsize, and that the shortage may be negatively impacting the economic development potential of the region.  A  new  training series by Housing Virginia and the Virginia Housing Alliance will look at the benefits, challenges, and best practices in rural rental housing. The  Virginia Housing Education and Learning Partnership (HELP) Center is a program of the Virginia Housing Alliance,  a statewide advocacy and education nonprofit organization with a mission of expanding housing opportunities and ending homelessness throughout the Commonwealth through advocacy, education, and collaboration. Targeted to local officials and community organizations, the training that will take place in our region is on May 10 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Gathering Place located at 731 Mt. Clinton Pike in Harrisonburg. Register HERE. 
Community Connect Grants for Broadband Projects Due May 14

Applications are due May 14, for USDA's Community Connect Grant Program. This program funds broadband infrastructure projects in unserved rural areas. Grants from $100,000 to $3 million are available to state and local governments, federally-recognized tribes, nonprofits and for-profit corporations.
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