The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
 December 2018
Opportunity Zone Workshop Scheduled for Localities

The CSPDC and Shenandoah Valley Partnership will be holding an Opportunity Zones information workshop for localities in December. The keynote speaker is Kristen Dahlman, Senior Policy Analyst with the Virginia Department of Housing & Community Development. Opportunity Zones offer special treatment on capital gains to investors who invest in low-income communities and help drive economic growth and revitalization in these distressed communities.  There are   212 officially designated Qualified Opportunity Zones in Virginia.
Bike the Valley Launches New Website

CSPDC's Bike the Valley program has launched a new website. The new www.bikethevalley.org is rebranded, mobile-responsive, and has expanded options for cycling in the Valley, including trip-planning tools to find bike-friendly lodging, local bike shops, and places to have a hearty meal and a beverage after a long ride. Embedded, interactive maps powered by Ride with GPS allow cyclists to view mileage, elevation gain and points of interest along different routes, download routes straight to a GPS device, and print maps and turn-by-turn directions. The website and Bike the Valley Facebook page are also updated regularly with news and information about cycling tours, events and projects in the Shenandoah Valley.
GO Virginia Approves Two Projects in Region

The GO Virginia Regional Council has recommended two projects under the Enhanced Capacity Building funding category. They include the Shenandoah Valley Talent Solutions Strategy and the Staunton Innovation Hub - Hub-Lab Feasibility Study.
 
Economic development organizations in the Northern Shenandoah Valley will partner to develop the Talent Solutions Strategy initiative focused on job seekers, university and community college graduates, and high school students. The goal of the project is to mitigate the difficulty of filling middle-skill and high-skill jobs for both existing and prospective businesses, by enhancing the quality and quantity of available workers in the region.
 
The Staunton Innovation Hub will use GO Virginia funds to undertake a feasibility study to determine the need for, potential impact of, and implementation details to create a Hub-Lab; a student-entrepreneur makerspace. The Hub-Lab shared work space is intended to teach creative and collaborative ways to use innovative equipment such as laser cutters, 3D printers, robotics and electronics. The feasibility study will also evaluate the needs for a mobile makerspace that can travel to rural parts of the region. Partners on the project include Denbigh and Associates, LLC, Mary Baldwin University, James Madison University, Valley Career and Technical Center, City of Staunton, and Page County.
WIP III Holds Combined SWCD & PDC Meeting

In November, The Chesapeake Bay Phase III Watershed Implementation Plan held its first combined meeting at Blue Ridge Community College. Participants included members from Planning District Commissions, Soil & Water Conservation Districts (SWCD), localities, stakeholders, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, and the Department of Conservation and Recreation. Discussions included key best management practices and opportunities for enhanced coordination. For more information regarding this meeting or questions about the plan, please contact Regional Planner/GIS Coordinator, Hunter Moore: hunter@cspdc.org.
CEDS Approved by CSPDC Board

An update of the CSPDC's   Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) was approved by the CSPDC Board of Directors in October. The CEDS program analyzes a region's economy and serves as a guide for establishing regional goals and objectives, developing and implementing a regional plan of action, and identifying investment priorities and funding sources. The collaborative update process was completed by a CEDS project team made up of representatives from the CSPDC's four sub-regions and key regional organizations. The team worked with CSPDC board members and staff, local economic development staff and partners, as well as consultants from Camoin Associates to develop the CEDS. The CEDS will now be submitted to the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration for approval.
Greenville Avenue STARS Study Begins in Staunton

VDOT's Strategically Targeted Affordable Roadway Solutions ( STARS) program develops comprehensive, innovative transportation solutions to relieve congestion bottlenecks and solve critical traffic and safety challenges. VDOT's Staunton District applied for up to $200,000 to study safety solutions for the Greenville Avenue corridor from the Coalter Street intersection to just south of the interchange with Woodrow Wilson Parkway (VA 262). VDOT is partnering on the study with the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro MPO, the City of Staunton, Augusta County, and BRITE Transit. The STARS study began in October 2018 and is expected to be completed in 9-12 months.
Bike Safety Guides Available

The 6th edition of the Share VA Roads bicycle safety guide is now available in print and by download. The guides are produced through a partnership between the Northern Virginia Regional Commission and state and local agencies. The guides offer a set of safety procedures and traffic regulations for all users of the State's roads. CSPDC has ordered guides in English and Spanish and will share them at events and based on requests from our member jurisdictions.
Bike-Walk Summit Held

In November, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham MPO and the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition hosted the   7th Annual Harrisonburg & Rockingham Bike-Walk Summit. More than 80 attendees representing local, regional, and state government and advocacy groups gathered to brainstorm ways to achieve the community's vision of becoming an even better place to live, bike, walk, work and play. Max Hepp-Buchanan, Executive Director of Bike-Walk RVA, gave a keynote address about how Richmond has committed to building a safe and accessible network of paths and lanes for walkers and bicyclists.
Shenandoah Valley Partnership Hires Executive Director

The Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP) has hired Jay A. Langston, Ph.D., as the new executive director of the organization. Dr. Langston is coming to the SVP from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP) where he served as the Managing Director of Business Retention and Expansion. Prior to working at VEDP, Dr. Langston served as Executive Director of Virginia's Gateway Region, a regional economic development organization. Dr. Langston replaces Carrie Chenery who held the position until August of this year. He began work on December 3rd. 
Virginia Breeze Adds New Weekend Service

The Virginia Breeze has added additional weekend service to its route, allowing riders to make a weekend trip to Washington, D.C. and get back home in time for Monday classes and work. The bus makes nine stops along I-81 and I-66 from Blacksburg to Union Station in D.C. Updated brochures listing the full schedule of stops are being developed and will be available in the coming weeks. Three stops in the CSPDC region include Lexington, Staunton, and Harrisonburg.
CSPDC Helps Fill Christmas Stockings

For the 5th consecutive year, the CSPDC staff contributed stockings filled with toys and goodies to the Salvation Army to deliver to two children in need this holiday season. CSPDC employees collect donations for a variety of charities both local and global throughout the year, part of which went to filling this season's stockings.  
Governor's Infrastructure Conference Scheduled

Governor Ralph Northam and the Virginia Resources Authority will be hosting the   Governor's Infrastructure Financing Conference on December 10-12. The conference is designed to bring together government and private sector professionals in discussions that will help facilitate the planning and delivery of much-needed capital improvement projects across Virginia. Informative sessions will highlight state funding resources and other infrastructure financing resources.
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