The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
February 2017 
VTrans Regional Public Open House held on February 15

The CSPDC assisted the Secretary of Transportation's Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment in hosting and notifying partners about a regional VTrans Open House .  The event took place on February 15 at the Regional Transit Facility in Fishersville from 4 - 6 p.m.
  
VTrans is the Commonwealth's long-range transportation plan, and addresses needs and recommendations for all modes of transportation including single-occupancy vehicles, transit, bike and ped, and freight movement.  This Open House was an opportunity for the public to review and discuss a set of recommendations that address transportation needs for the next eight years.  Recommendations will help move specific projects toward the SMART SCALE application program and funding.
Grant Awarded For Regional Wildfire Protection Plan
WildfirePlan
The CSPDC has received  grant funds from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management
through the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Pre-disaster Mitigation Grant Program to complete a regional Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP).
CWPPs cover such issues as wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness, and structural protection. Previously, the CSPDC assisted Augusta County with completing a CWPP. This new CWPP will take a regional approach, with all 21 jurisdictions within the Central Shenandoah Region eligible to participate. The planning process will take place over the next 18 months.
Public input will be an integral part of creating the regional CWPP, and will be solicited through open houses, an on-line survey, and community outreach. When completed, the CWPP will be incorporated into the  Central Shenandoah All Hazards Mitigation Plan.   For more information contact Rebecca Joyce, (540) 885-5174, rebecca@cspdc.org .
SMART SCALE Projects Recommended for Funding

The Commonwealth Transportation Board released its preliminary funding scenario for the FY 2018 SMART SCALE cycle. SMART SCALE applications this year.  Ten of the 20 SMART SCALE applications in the CSPDC region were recommended for funding.  The funding for these 10 projects totals $19.74 million.  Statewide, 404 applications were scored, totaling $8.6 billion in SMART SCALE requests.
 
The next steps for the funding of these projects include public meetings and opportunities for comment in the Spring of 2017, and final approval of the FY 2018 Six Year Improvement Program in June 2017. 
Braiding the Way Releases Community Survey
BraidingSurvey
Braiding the Way for Outdoor Recreation in the Rockbridge Area is conducting an online survey as part of the process for developing a Master Outdoor Recreation Plan for the region.  The survey is open to both residents and visitors and asks participants to share information on their involvement in outdoor recreation activities, spending and demographic information.  The data from the survey results will be used to conduct an economic impact analysis report.
 
To take the survey, please click here:
 https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/outdoorrecreationrockbridge.  The survey will remain open until July 31, 2017.
Farm2Fork Affair Set for March 6
Farm2Fork
Farm2Fork Affair is an event to introduce regional agricultural producers to large-scale consumers throughout Virginia. The 2017 Farm2Fork Affair on March 6, is a collaboration of Northern Shenandoah Valley Tourism Offices, Buy Fresh Buy Local, CSPDC's Fields of Gold program, Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the Staunton Creative Community Fund.
  
A variety of regional agricultural producers from Harrisonburg, Rockingham County, Shenandoah County, Page County, Winchester, and Frederick County will be set up in a trade show expo at the Mimslyn Inn in Luray.  Producers will have the opportunity to market to hundreds of consumers from the Shenandoah Valley region, Charlottesville, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, and as far as Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. Consumers include restaurants, universities and schools, retailers, grocers, distribution centers, and full service hotels and B&B's.  John Hoffman the Executive Chef of Keswick Hall will deliver the keynote address focusing on the importance of using locally-grown food. 
  
Prior to the event, a Farm2Fork Ready Workshop will be provided for those producers showcasing their products at the Expo. This workshop is designed to provide guidance on creating a professional presentation and developing working relationships with potential clients.
  
For more information, on the Farm2Fork Affair and Farm2Fork Ready events, please visit  www.Farm2ForkAffairNSV.com.

VAPDC Holds Annual Winter Conference

The Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC) held its annual winter conference in Richmond on February 2-3.  The annual event is held in conjunction with Virginia Association of Counties's County Government Day.  The theme of this year's conference was "Facilitating Collaboration in Virginia's Diverse Regions."

Keynote speaker at the Awards Banquet was Dr. Quentin Kidd, Vice Provost and Professor of Political Science at Christopher Newport University.  Dr. Kidd shared his perspective on the recent presidential election and the upcoming Virginia gubernatorial election. The Legislator of the Year award was presented to Senator Frank Ruff and the Baker Achievement Award was presented to Aubrey Lane, Secretary of Transportation.  CSPDC's Executive Director, Bonnie Riedesel, serves on the VAPDC Board of Directors and is the Program Committee chair for the Association.
Weldon Cooper Releases 2016 Population Data

The University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center has released the 2016 official population estimates for Virginia and its counties and independent cities. Virginia's population growth has slowed significantly in recent years, matching national and regional trends, and that growth has been concentrated in metropolitan areas.


According to the   Weldon Cooper Center, out-migration has lowered population growth in  Virginia, and the Commonwealth's aging population also reduced population growth or in many cases caused it to decline. "The trend toward population growth in Virginia's urban areas, while many of its rural communities' populations decline, is not new,"   said Qian Cai, director of the center's Demographics Research Group. "However, the deepening polarization of these demographic trends present growing problems for the Commonwealth in terms of schools, housing, transportation, workforce and health care. Localities and regions will need to understand the trends in their community's population and make informed, practical policy decisions to address these demographic changes."

Additional population data is available on the Weldon Cooper Center website and on the   CSPDC's Regional Data Center.

CSPDC Welcomes New Staff Members

We are pleased to welcome planners Jonathan Howard, Tracy Hibbitts, and Liza Vick to the CSPDC team.
  
Jonathan, who was hired as a transportation planner, is a Navy veteran and former VDOT employee.  He will be involved in many of the CSPDC's transportation programs including MPO projects, the Rural Transportation program and corridor studies. 
  
As a regional planner, Tracy will be working on a number of community development projects including Braiding the Way for Outdoor Recreation in the Rockbridge Area and Greenhouse Village Housing project in Rockbridge County.  For the past eight years, Tracy worked for the Virginia Outdoors Foundation as a Stewardship Specialist. 
  
In her role as regional planner, Liza will work on environmental and natural resource projects such as storm water management, water supply planning and solid waste management and recycling.  She most recently worked for the City of Waynesboro in their Public Works Department. 
New City Planners in the Region 

Rodney Rhodes was hired in January as the City of Staunton's Senior Planner.  He replaces Sharon Angle who served as the City's Director of Planning for 29 years before retiring in December.  Most recently Mr. Rhodes served as the zoning administrator for City of Williamsburg, and prior to that he spent eight years in Mathews County as the  director of planning and zoning and deputy county administrator.   Earlier in his career, he worked for the Northern Neck Planning District Commission. Mr. Rhodes received an undergraduate degree in government from the University of Virginia.

Luke Juday was hired as the Director of Planning for the City of Waynesboro and began work in late January.  Mr. Juday replaces Michael Barnes who worked as the Waynesboro City Planner for six years.  Mr. Juday previously worked for the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission as a transportation planner. He is a University of Virginia graduate with a Master of Urban and Environmental Planning degree.
  


Both Mr. Rhodes and Mr. Juday will serve on the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro MPO Technical Advisory Committee.
CSPDC Recognizes New Commissioners
 
Mr. William Kyger was appointed to the CSPDC Commission to represent Rockingham County. He replaces Mr. Rick Chandler who has served since January 2014. Mr. Kyger has previously served on the Commission and we would like to welcome him back.
 
Mr. George Hirschmann was appointed as the City of Harrisonburg's new representative to the CSPDC. He replaces Mr. Abe Shearer who has served since June 2014.
 
Ms. Vickie Moran was appointed as Augusta County's new representative to the CSPDC. She replaces Mr. Joe Colvin who has served since March 2011. Ms. Moran also serves on Craigsville Town Council.

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