The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
 March 2018
GO Virginia Region 8 Announces Project Funding

Funding has been approved for the Rockbridge Area Advanced Manufacturing Program (RAAMP) which was submitted in the second round of project grants to the GO Virginia State Board. RAAMP is a 40-week training program for welders at Byers Technical Institute, a new technical training center in Rockbridge County.

"RAAMP will provide a pipeline of skilled welders for manufacturing companies in Region 8. More welders will allow area industries to reduce the cost of outsourcing services and increase productivity. Additionally, expanding educational opportunities and the availability of a skilled workforce will help attract other industries to this rural area of Virginia," said George Pace, chair of the Region 8 Council. The $200,000 needed to implement RAAMP will include a mix of GO Virginia funds and matching public/private investments from the Rockbridge County Economic Development Authority, the City of Buena Vista, and Byers, Inc.

The GO Virginia Region 8 Council has announced that it is accepting proposals for projects to be funded through the State's GO Virginia initiative.  The Region 8 Council has approximately $828,000 in per capita GO Virginia funds to award to projects in the region.  In addition, approximately $11.3 million in competitive statewide GO Virginia funds is available for projects where two or more GO Virginia regions partner. The upcoming application deadlines are April 6, 2018, for per capita applications and June 1, 2018, for per capita and competitive applications. Applications are available on the Shenandoah Valley Partnership's website
Bath County Completes Small Area Study

The CSPDC recently completed a Small Area Transportation Study of the U.S. Route 220 (Sam Snead Highway) and VA Route 615 (Main Street) intersection located in Hot Springs, VA. The CSPDC partnered with Bath County, VDOT, and the Omni Homestead Resort on the study, which examined traffic operations and safety at the intersection and surrounding areas. The study identified safety concerns for tourism-related pedestrian traffic crossing U.S. Route 220. The recommended alternative intersection designs focus on a wide range of improvements including a traversable dome mini-roundabout, curb extensions, signage, crosswalks, and other pedestrian-friendly infrastructure that aim to reduce vehicular speeds and improve overall safety. Bath County has requested that the CSPDC present the alternatives to the public, and to potentially make an application to the SMART SCALE program this year.
Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Kicks-off

One of the CSPDC's primary responsibilities as an Economic Development District is to prepare a Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) for the Planning District. 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 recently-formed CEDS project team represents the CSPDC's four sub-regions and some key regional organizations:

1.    Carolyn Dull - Mayor of Staunton and CSPDC Board
2.    Chris Slaydon - Rockbridge County and CSPDC Board
3.    Amanda Glover - Augusta County
4.    Peirce Macgill - City of Harrisonburg
5.    Betty Mitchell - The Highland Center
6.    Dr. Kevin Ratliff - Blue Ridge Community College
7.    Courtland Robinson - Shenandoah Valley Partnership
8.    Joan Hollen - Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board
9.    Bonnie Riedesel - CSPDC
10.  Elizabeth McCarty - CSPDC

The project team is working with Camoin Associates to develop a draft CEDS that includes an in-depth SWOT analysis and strategic direction/action plan. The development period will take approximately four months.

Camoin Associates will present the draft CEDS at the CSPDC Board meeting on Monday, June 18 at 7 p.m.  A public hearing on the plan will also be held during the meeting, and all are encouraged to attend.

Community Emergency Response Training Begins in April

Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County, in partnership with the CSPDC, will be offering Community Emergency Response Training (CERT). The course will be offered Thursdays from April 5 through May 17, in the afternoons from 2:30 - 5:00 PM. The training will be held at the CSPDC office in Staunton.

This seven-week course uses a standard curriculum designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and teaches basic skills in disaster preparedness, fire safety, first aid, terrorism awareness, disaster psychology, and search and rescue. The CERT course is designed to give the average person tools to prepare themselves and their family during severe weather or other emergencies when emergency personnel are overwhelmed and may not be able to respond immediately. 

The course is open to anyone who lives or works in Staunton, Waynesboro, or Augusta County. The course is free and all materials are provided. Participants must pre-register no later than March 28, by contacting CERT Coordinator Rebecca Joyce, at 540-885-5174 or by email at

2018 Virginia Agritourism Conference

Join Fields of Gold Coordinator, Spencer Eavers, in Williamsburg for the highly-anticipated Agritourism in Virginia's New Economy conference on March 21-22. Held at Great Wolf Lodge, the two-day conference will provide agritourism entrepreneurs, economic development staff members, and local government leaders incredible opportunities to engage with experts in Virginia agritourism.

On the first day, attendees will learn how to improve agritourism operations, build a fundable business plan, discuss land conservation, identify funding resources, and visit two farms where they will discover agritourism successes and challenges.

The second day of the Conference will provide lessons for improving customer service, exploring new ideas related to Virginia's Standards of Learning, and learning from the best regarding safety, legal, liability, and labor management issues.

Review the program and register online today!
Registration is Open for Upcoming Floodplain Workshop

The CSPDC is hosting a Floodplain Management Workshop on March 27, at the BRITE Transit Facility in Fishersville, VA from 9:00 AM to 4:30 PM, with lunch being provided.  Localities within the region are invited to attend.  The goal of the workshop is to introduce participants to the Virginia Department of Conservation & Recreation Floodplain Management staff and to provide updated training on floodplain management requirements. Registration closes March 22.
Lexington to Host Preservation Virginia Workshop

Lexington has been selected by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources (DHR) and Preservation Virginia to host a Certified Local Government (CLG) workshop training opportunity on March 29, 2018.

The training will cover preservation planning principles, disaster planning, and hosting effective community meetings, and will include additional breakout sessions. It will take place at Virginia Military Institute in Marshall Hall. To register, please click  HERE.
SkyWest Begins SHD Service in April

SkyWest, the nation's largest regional airline, will take over carrier service at Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD) April 3, 2018. Flying as United Express, SkyWest will offer two flights to and from Washington Dulles International Airport each day, and one flight to and from Chicago O'Hare International. Each flight is on a 50-seat regional jet.

An economic impact study conducted for the Virginia Department of Aviation highlights the fact that air service is critical to economic development. The study found that Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport was responsible for about $70 million in economic activity and 430 jobs in 2016.
Celebrate Shenandoah

On March 19th, the Land Use Committee of Celebrate Shenandoah will hold a meeting with planners of the nine jurisdictions encircling the Shenandoah National Park. The purpose of the meeting is to review a "Planners Toolkit" that they developed that addresses planning issues that are of mutual interest to the jurisdictions as gateway communities and neighbors to the Park. 
The meeting will be held on Monday, March 19th from 10:00 am to 12:00 noon at the 4H Center at the foot of the Park in Warren County - 600 4h Center Dr, Front Royal, VA 22630.
New Members Appointed to CSPDC Commission

Ms. Lisa Clark was appointed to the CSPDC Board of Commissioners to represent the City of Buena Vista as its elected official. Ms. Clark replaces Mr. Tim Petrie who served since July 2015.

Mr. Jay Lewis was appointed to represent Rockbridge County as its elected representative. Mr. Lewis replaces his father, Mr. Buster Lewis, who served since January 2008.

There are 21 members on the Board of Commissioners, representing the five cities and five counties in the CSPDC region.
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