News from the CSPDC Region
Summer 2021
Afton Express to Launch
in September

The Afton Express, a commuter bus service connecting Staunton, Fishersville, Waynesboro, Charlottesville, and Fifth Street Station in Albemarle County will begin operating September 1. Three buses, outfitted with Wi-Fi, comfortable seating, and bike racks, will be used to operate four morning and four afternoon service routes, five days a week. The first bus was painted silver and branded with the distinct Afton Express logo in June with others to soon follow.  All rides will be free during the month of September.
GO Virginia Region 8 Council Approves Ag. Tech Center

In June, GO Virginia Region 8 Council approved a proposal to fund the Agricultural Innovation Center in Buena Vista. Proposed by The Advancement Foundation, the Agricultural Innovation Center plans to transform a vacant 37,000 square-foot factory in downtown Buena Vista into a flagship, ag-tech innovation facility featuring a business accelerator and classrooms, ag and food tech labs, a small-scale manufacturing space, a processing and product development space, and a commercial kitchen. 
New PDC Housing Development Program 

Buena Vista Receives
Block Grant
 
The City of Buena Vista was awarded a $1 million Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) for community improvements in downtown Buena Vista. Improvements will focus along the 21st Street corridor and will include...
CTB Member Mark Merrill Tours Crozet Tunnel

New Staunton District Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) member Mark Merrill visited the region on June 30 to tour the Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel. The CSPDC hosted Mr. Merrill with VDOT, Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro MPO Policy Board members, and CSPDC Chair Frank Friedman.
VATI Broadband Grants Due

Applications are currently being accepted for the Fiscal Year 2022 Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) grant program. To help achieve Governor Northam’s goal for universal broadband coverage throughout the Commonwealth by 2024, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will award funds to eligible applicants to provide last-mile services to unserved areas in Virginia. The CSPDC is available to assist with regional applications that are due on September 14, 2021.  
TAP Pre-Applications Submitted

Every two years, the CSPDC partners with local governments to apply for funding through the Transportation Alternatives Program (TAP), a program that funds non-motorized transportation projects such as sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails. This year, the CSPDC assisted with nine pre-applications that were submitted by the July 1 deadline. 
Olivia Raines Hired as Regional Planner
 
The CSPDC welcomes new Regional Planner Olivia Raines. Olivia received her undergraduate degree in International Development from the University of Virginia, and her master’s degree in City and Regional Planning with a focus in Housing and Community Development from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. While at UNC, Olivia focused primarily on COVID-19 recovery and resilience for small manufacturers. Olivia will be supporting the CSPDC’s economic and community development projects. 
Town of Goshen Receives CDBG Funding 

In July, the Town of Goshen was awarded a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to determine the feasibility of converting a vacant school building into a mixed-use community center. If brought to fruition, the community center would provide a variety of services including a health center, food bank distribution, senior services, health classes, Wi-Fi access, and additional community meeting and outdoor recreation space.
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