News from the CSPDC Region

October 2023

CSPDC Adopts Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 

On October 16, the CSPDC adopted the 2023 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS). As the region’s 5-year plan for economic development, the CEDS provides a vision and a blueprint for greater economic prosperity and growth. Through extensive research and data analysis, an evaluation of regional trends, and a thorough community engagement process, the CEDS leverages and capitalizes on the region’s assets to create an action-oriented plan that promotes quality, sustained economic growth. 

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SAW Housing Summit Partners Launch Community Conversation Series

In partnership with the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge, Augusta Health, Valley Community Services Board, and Valley Homeless Connection, the CSPDC is coordinating community conversations focused on pressing housing issues in our region.

These community conversations are intended as a follow-up to the SAW Housing Summit, held on October 11 and 12. The conversations will focus on topics that were not able to be included in the Summit agenda, but that have emerged as important housing topics to stakeholders in the region.

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CSPDC Begins ARC Ready Outreach Meetings

CSPDC staff kicked off the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) READY Local Development District (LDD) program with stakeholder outreach meetings involving local government and community leaders. Meetings occurred with local government representatives from the counties of Bath, Highland, and Rockbridge, the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington, and the towns of Glasgow, Goshen, and Monterey in August and September. CSPDC followed up with an ARC READY LDD presentation to community leaders in September and October.

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MPOs Launch New Websites

Both the Staunton Augusta Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAWMPO) and the Harrisonburg Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) have new websites. PDC staff worked with the communications consultant company Avid Core to facilitate the transition of both websites to the WordPress platform.

Each of the websites have been refreshed and reorganized to be more visually appealing and easier to navigate. In addition to improved navigability, the HRMPO and SAWMPO websites include Google Translate to provide translation options for visitors who would prefer to access the websites in a language other than English.

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MPOs Hold Joint Policy Board Meeting

Since 2017, the Charlottesville-Albemarle, and Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organizations (MPOs) have had an agreement in place to coordinate planning activities of mutual interest to both regions. A Memorandum of Understanding documents the collaboration between the two regions, with a focus on transportation-related projects along the I-64 and U.S. 250 corridor.

The formal agreement between the two MPOs dates back to September 2017, but the MPOs have been discussing projects of regional significance at joint Policy Board meetings since 2015. The two Policy Boards met annually from 2015 to 2019. The meetings were placed on hold in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and did not occur until September 27 of this year, when the two groups came together to revive the meetings.

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Shenandoah Rail Trail Welcomes Senator Kaine

Senator Tim Kaine returned to the Shenandoah Valley on September 22 to meet with local elected officials and business owners to hear about the progress made toward turning the 48.5-mile corridor into a trail. After listening to the group in Front Royal, Senator Kaine said, “The more model trails are up and running, the more small towns can see the benefits and want to get on board,” emphasizing the importance of demonstrating how successful rail trails can be for small businesses and Valley communities.

The Rail Trail Partnership also launched a new website ( with an interactive map, opportunities to donate to the Friends of the Shenandoah Rail Trail non-profit, and a sign-up for news updates. 

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GO Virginia Approves SVCAL’s Go2Work

At its September 12 meeting, the GO Virginia State Board unanimously approved the Shenandoah Valley Center for Advanced Learning’s (SVCAL) proposal for the Go2Work program. Partnering with local governments and local industry leaders, Go2Work aims to get students ready for high demand jobs in our region, particularly in the manufacturing and transportation sectors.


SVCAL will use GO Virginia funds to add new career education and technical programs for students in industrial maintenance, aviation technology, and heavy equipment as well as to make significant upgrades to its equipment for training high school and adult apprenticeship students in precision machining, welding, and auto and diesel technology. 

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Annette Patterson Selected for ARC Fellowship

On September 26, 2023 the Appalachian Regional Commission (ARC) announced the 40 fellows who were selected for the 2023-2024 class of the Appalachian Leadership Institute. The fifth annual class of fellows were selected through a competitive process from public, private, and non-profit leaders across the 13 Appalachian states. Annette Patterson, President of The Advancement Foundation, was one of two fellows selected from the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Annette founded The Advancement Foundation in 2007 to advance her passion for business and community development. Under her leadership, The Advancement Foundation developed Virginia’s largest business program and competition, The Gauntlet, which has served nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs, leveraged the expertise of over 300 industry leaders, and captured over $8M in resources to support business and community development.

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Beyond Solar Ordinances Webinar

The webinar “Beyond Solar Ordinances” will be held October 26 from 10:30 to Noon to help localities stay abreast of best practices for this evolving land use. It will cover comprehensive plan and solar policy approaches, host siting agreements, mitigation regulations for impact on farm and forest, and the emerging issues of data centers, battery storage, and transmission infrastructure.

Speakers from The Berkley Group, Eldon James & Associates, Advantus Strategies, Hefty Wiley & Gore, and regional conservation groups will share their experience and knowledge. The webinar is hosted by Alliance for the Shenandoah Valley and Piedmont Environmental Council in partnership with the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, Northern Shenandoah Regional Commission, and Rappahannock Rapidan Regional Commission.

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