The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
May 2017 
Commonwealth Transportation Board Member Visits Region

Staunton VDOT District member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, Dixon Whitworth, visited the region on May 3, 2017.  Mr. Whitworth attended the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization  (MPO) Policy Board meeting, where he heard a presentation on past and upcoming local projects, and then shared valuable information with the Policy Board regarding several transportation funding programs.

Following the MPO meeting, CSPDC staff, local government officials, and VDOT staff hosted Mr. Whitworth on a tour of project sites in Rockbridge County and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington. Many of these sites are critical links to the Chessie Trail and the Brushy Hills to the Blue Ridge Parkway Greenway system.

Later this month, Mr. Whitworth will give a report to the Commonwealth Transportation Board regarding the importance of Revenue Sharing and other funding programs to rural communities like those in the CSPDC.
Regional Housing Summit Planned

The CSPDC and the Bath County Economic Development Authority are hosting a free Regional Housing Summit on May 25, 2017, in Bath County at the Hot Springs Fire Department. Attendees will learn strategies to address the demand for affordable workforce housing in their community. 
Summit speakers will focus on the connection between housing and economic development, as well as funding opportunities to increase affordable housing options through homeownership, rental housing, housing rehabilitation, and new construction. This workshop is geared toward local government staff, including community development, economic development and workforce development; local elected officials; housing organizations and nonprofits; and other community leaders.
On the day of the workshop, registration and networking will begin at 10:30 am and the workshop will start at 11:00 am. Lunch and light refreshments will be served.  Please register for the event here .

Virginia Agritourism Study Released

Fresh data from an economic impact study titled "The Economic and Fiscal Impacts of Agritourism in Virginia" shows that the Shenandoah Valley has the third highest number of agritourism venues in the State at 237, including places like farm-based vineyards, breweries, and distilleries.  
These agri-businesses along the Shenandoah Valley's   Fields of Gold Farm Trail contribute significantly to the region's economy. In 2015 alone, over a million visitors came to agritourism sites in the Shenandoah Valley, spending a total of $255.8 million, with an overall revenue of nearly $363 million. $22.6 million was contributed to state and local taxes.
The study, released in April, was conducted by Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business. Rockingham and Augusta counties were two of four counties that contributed as financial partners on the study and members of their staff served on the State Agritourism Study Committee.
Localities Set to Receive Transportation Alternatives Grant

The Commonwealth Transportation Board has announced their tentative awards for the FY18 Transportation Alternatives (TA) program, administered by VDOT. TA funds bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and Safe Routes to School projects.  Tentative grant recipients include the City of Buena Vista, the Town of Bridgewater, and the City of Waynesboro.
Buena Vista requested funding for two projects: sidewalks and streetscaping on Magnolia Avenue (US 501), and the construction of a paved, shared-use path under the Rte. 60 bridge linking the city's existing sidewalk network and the Chessie Trail. Bridgewater requested funding for their Riverwalk Trail along the North River, connecting three Town parks. Waynesboro requested funding for Phase III of the South River Greenway project. Phase III will extend the greenway from the Loth Spring Trailhead to Riverview Park. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will make the grant awards final at their June 2017 meeting. 
Fence Talk Published

The May edition of "Fence Talk" is now available.  The Fields of Gold Farm Trail newsletter provides valuable information and resources to Fields of Gold members, and features training and conference opportunities, marketing tools, and profiles of member farms and signature events. 
Water and Sewer Infrastructure Financing Workshop Held

On May 4, the CSPDC hosted a Water and Sewer Infrastructure Financing Workshop for the localities in the region.  The goal was to equip participants with knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about financing their water and sewer projects.  Subject matter experts from VA Department of Health, VA Department of Environmental Quality, VA Department of Housing and Community Development, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, and USDA-Rural Development presented funding options available through their respective programs.
CSPDC on-call consultants who helped sponsor the workshop include: A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Draper Aden Associates, Hurt & Proffitt, Timmons Group, and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin. The workshop was well received by participants. As one attendee expressed via email: "Thank you very much for this morning's workshop.  Very well done and good information from multiple agencies!"
Broadway Updating Comprehensive Plan

CSPDC staff is assisting the Town of Broadway in updating its 2012 Comprehensive Plan.  Members of the planning group will meet monthly over the next year and guide the update of the Comprehensive Plan by reviewing current data, demographics, and information. Once the update is completed, the Planning Commission and the Town Council will hold public hearings to consider the adoption of the proposed Comprehensive Plan.
Regional Wildfire Plan Begins

The Central Shenandoah Valley Community Wildfire Protection Plan (CWPP) kicked off its planning process at an April meeting of Shenandoah Valley Project Impact, the CSPDC's regional disaster preparedness and mitigation education program.
The CWPP will take a regional approach in addressing such issues as wildfire response, hazard mitigation, community preparedness, and structural protection.  The planning process is expected to take 18 months and will involve extensive public input 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.  

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