The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
 September 2017 
GO Virginia Region 8 Council Completes Growth and Diversification Plan 

The GO Virginia Region 8 Council has submitted an Economic Growth and Diversification Plan to the State GO Virginia Board for approval. Region 8's plan identifies five targeted industry sectors in the Shenandoah Valley where job growth is anticipated.  These jobs are expected to have an average wage of $41,000 or higher. The targeted industries are financial and business services, healthcare, light manufacturing, IT/ communications, and transportation and logistics.

An approved Economic Growth and Diversification Plan is a pre-requisite to the allocation of GO Virginia funds. GO Virginia is a voluntary, business-led, Commonwealth-supported initiative formed in 2016 to generate private sector growth and job opportunities across nine regions by encouraging strategic, job-focused collaboration among business, education, and local government.  Regional Economic Growth and Diversification plans identify economic opportunities, needs, and challenges, establish priorities, and outline support necessary for multi-locality collaborative projects to potentially be funded under GO Virginia. To view the Growth and Diversification Plan click  HERE. 

Transit facility opening held in July
BRITE Ribbon Cutting Held

State, regional, and local leaders and several BRITE transit riders gathered on July 27th to officially open the BRITE Transit Facility and welcome new buses to the fleet. CSPDC Executive Director Bonnie Riedesel and Board Chair Frank Friedman kicked off the event, then introduced remarks from key officials including Jennifer DeBruhl, Virginia Department of Rail & Public Transportation Chief of Public Transportation; Bruce Simms, Virginia Regional Transit CEO; and Wayne Martin, BRITE Transit Advisory Committee Chair.

New fleet of BRITE buses 
Nancy Gourley, CSPDC Transit Manager, offered up rider perspectives to the proceedings, introducing BRITE transit riders Rebecca Messer and Paul Terry, as well as Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center teacher Stephen Sweeney, who all shared how important reliable transit is to many Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro residents by providing access to training, services, health care, and employment. BRITE Bus provides fixed-route and on-demand transportation in the Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro area. Services are administered by the CSPDC, with operational recommendations provided by the  BRITE Transit Advisory Committee. More about BRITE Bus accomplishments can be viewed HERE.
Spencer Eavers at Stable Craft Brewing in
Augusta County
Fields of Gold Hires New Agritourism Coordinator

Meet Spencer Eavers, our new Agritourism Coordinator for the Fields of Gold program. She grew up in the Valley and is excited for the opportunity to support the growth of the region's agritourism businesses. She currently resides in Staunton with her husband and three young children, who all enjoy experiencing new adventures and regularly take advantage of the Fields of Gold Farm Trail's great destinations, from the local farmers' market, to the many family-friendly events.

Spencer has a background in marketing and event and program coordination, with a passion for local, sustainable, community development.  She looks forward to serving our members and helping them realize their aspirations.  Contact her at  spencer@cspdc.org  or 540-885-5174.
 
View the latest opportunities for agritourism businesses in the Fall 2017 Fence Talk.
CSPDC Annual Meeting Held in August

The CSPDC held its annual Commission meeting and dinner on August 21st at its newly acquired BRITE Transit Facility in Fishersville.  Forty Commissioners, their guests, and staff attended the annual event.  Mr. Bill Shelton, Director, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development was the keynote speaker.  He talked about the importance of community and economic development in the Commonwealth and recognized PDCs for their strong tradition of collaboration.

A copy of the CSPDC's Annual Report -
A Year in Review FY  2017  was distributed at the meeting followed by "lighting round" presentations from staff on their projects and programs.
Farm Trail film crew in action 
Fields of Gold Video Debuts

The Fields of Gold Agritourism program recently completed a promotional video for the Fields of Gold Farm Trail. Produced by Appeal Productions and featuring many Fields of Gold Farm Trail members, the video shows the Constable family enjoying a fun-filled day on the Farm Trail. The video will be used to showcase the many ways visitors can enjoy  farm adventures in the Shenandoah Valley, especially by using the convenient web and mobile-ready tools for planning and navigating the Farm Trail. 
Watch the video HERE.
 
A second video is in production and will feature more Farm Trail members and provide a range of historical facts about farming in the Shenandoah Valley.
Try Transit Week Will Feature Free Ride Day on BRITE Bus

Try Transit Week, an educational event designed to encourage Virginians to reduce their use of single-occupancy vehicles and try a form of public transportation, will be celebrated in Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro with a Free Ride Day on all BRITE Bus transit routes on Wednesday, September 20, 2017. All BRITE Bus routes, including On-Demand and Deviated Fixed Routes will be free of charge that day.

Try Transit Week was created by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and transit operators across the Commonwealth to spread the word about public transportation accessibility and its numerous benefits. As part of Try Transit Week, DRPT sponsors a Try Transit Week pledge giveaway. Participants who pledge to try transit are automatically entered for a chance to win a year of free transit service from a participating Virginia transit operator, as well as a pair of round-trip tickets aboard Amtrak's Northeast Regional train.  Pledges will be accepted through September 22, 2017.  Rules at www.trytransitweek.org.
CERT volunteers in action
CERT Course Starts in September 

Augusta County and the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro, in partnership with Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC), are offering Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training this fall.  The course will be held Thursdays from Sept. 28 - Nov. 9, 6:30 pm - 9:00 pm at BRCC's Plecker Center auditorium.

The seven-week training utilizes a curriculum designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency that covers basic skills in disaster preparedness, fire safety, first aid, terrorism awareness, disaster psychology, and search & rescue. It 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.  Upon successful completion, participants may choose to become a volunteer with the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Community Emergency Response Team.

The training is free, and all materials are provided. Anyone who either lives or works in Staunton, Waynesboro, or Augusta County may attend. Pre-registration is required no later than September 22, 2017. To pre-register contact Rebecca Joyce, CERT Coordinator at 540-885-5174 or by email at rebecca@cspdc.org .
CSPDC Executive Director, Bonnie Riedesel
Riedesel Elected 2nd VP at VAPDC Summer Conference 

CSPDC Executive Director, Bonnie Riedesel, was elected as Second Vice President of the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC) at their 2017 Summer Conference in Norfolk. Riedesel has worked for the CSPDC since 1994, and was appointed Executive Director in 2008. Her work with the CSPDC includes community and economic development, affordable housing, agritourism, hazard mitigation, public transit and transportation and bicycle-pedestrian planning.  

VAPDC members aboard the U.S. Navy Battleship Wisconsin
The conference theme was "Creating Opportunities through Regional Collaboration," and featured speakers and panels on topics such as broadband, autonomous vehicles, and dealing with the opioid epidemic. VAPDC is an association of the  21 PDCs in Virginia that have joined together to share best practices, and further regionalism across the Commonwealth. More info HERE. 

Resilient Virginia Conference Held in August

CSPDC Community Program Manager Rebecca Joyce spoke at the second annual "Resilient Virginia" conference that was held in Richmond on August 1 and 2. This year's theme was "Connecting Communities, Business, and Educators for Resilience Solutions." Plenary sessions featured experts addressing the national security and community-building aspects of resiliency, as well as highlighting the economic value to both governments and corporations of adopting resiliency measures. 

Ms. Joyce's session featured rural-focused resiliency case studies. Watch Governor Terry McAuliff's statement to the conference and listen to the opening plenary.
Waynesboro's South River Greenway project under construction
2017 TAP Grant Application Cycle Open

The 2017 Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) Transportation Alternative Program (TAP) application cycle opens September 1st and closes on November 1st. TAP provides funding for surface transportation projects such as on- and off-road pedestrian and bicycle facilities, infrastructure projects to improve non-driver access to public transportation and enhanced mobility, community improvements and environmental mitigation, safe routes to school projects, and projects for planning, designing, or constructing boulevards and other roadways largely in the right-of-way of former Interstate System routes or other divided highways.

Projects that are located within a Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) boundary must submit a Resolution of Support from the MPO with their application. Localities interested in submitting for TAP funds should contact their MPO as soon as possible so that a resolution is prepared for the application.

This biennial application cycle includes awards for both FY19 and FY20 allocations. The next opportunity to apply for TAP funds will be November 2019. More about the Transportation Alternative grant program HERE
Annual VDOT Meeting Set for October

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT)'s annual fall informational meeting will be held on October 10, 4:00 - 6:00 pm at Blue Ridge Community College's Plecker Center. The meeting will be hosted by Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Lane and Staunton District Commonwealth Transportation Board Member Dixon Whitworth, and will begin with an open house followed by a town hall style meeting.  The open house will provide information on various transportation initiatives including proposed changes to Virginia's project prioritization process (SMART SCALE), recently funded projects in the Six-Year Improvement Program, Virginia's Statewide Transportation Improvement Program, VTrans Multimodal Transportation Plan, and Scenario Planning and Freight plans. For more information visit HERE. 
CSPDC staff enjoys Stable Craft Brewing
Staff Retreat Features Training, Brewery Tour

CSPDC staff met for their annual retreat at Stable Craft Brewing in Augusta County on August 25. The session featured a workshop on effective meetings by Doug Jackson, Capacity Development Specialist, Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development, and social media for organizations by Karen Lawrence of KLCreative Media. 


The staff took a tour of Stable Craft Brewing, which recently received an Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development grant for brewery expansion .  
School supplies purchased by CSPDC staff for
Stuff the Bus
Stuff the Bus Donations Made

The CSPDC staff donated school supplies for two local children as part of this year's Stuff the Bus campaign. Stuff the Bus is an effort organized by the United Way of Greater Augusta to assist local families with school supplies. A school bus located at the Staunton Walmart from August 4-6 collected donations from shoppers. The CSPDC contribution was collected as part of an ongoing "charity jar" maintained in the office that regularly gives to a variety of charities.  
Rural Broadband Applications Due


The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) will be accepting FY 2017 applications for the  Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program  until September 30, 2017. Applicants can review the FY 2017 application guide HERE.

The Rural Broadband Access Loan and Loan Guarantee Program furnishes loans and loan guarantees to provide funds for the costs of construction, improvement, or acquisition of facilities and equipment needed to provide service at the broadband lending speed as outlined in the
Federal Register .
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