News from the CSPDC Region
September 2022
Discover Transit Month & Afton Express Turns One
During September, the CSPDC and BRITE Transit are partnering with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation to celebrate Discover Transit Month. September also marks the 1-year anniversary of the launch of the Afton Express. Throughout the month we will be highlighting local transit options and highlighting the success of Afton Express.

The Afton Express began operations on September 1, 2021, and in the last 365 days passengers took 8,174 trips between the Staunton, Augusta, and Waynesboro region and Charlottesville and Albemarle County. The service continues to grow each month, with recent monthly averages of 46 passenger trips per day.
Don’t Miss This Public Input Opportunity!
The second online survey for the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP) closes on Friday, September 16th. Anyone who lives, works, or travels in the region is encouraged to take the survey and share their input on a list of proposed transportation projects for the next 20 years of investment in the region.

Public input on the project will guide the HRMPO’s prioritization of the projects. The 2045 LRTP will be complete in May 2023. The survey is available in English, Spanish, and Arabic.
CSPDC Hosts Housing Focus Groups in Rockbridge
The Regional Housing Study is well underway, and CSPDC staff in partnership with the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) have kicked off a series of focus groups and interviews with stakeholders across the region. On August 24th, CSPDC and VCHR staff went to Buena Vista to hold a day of focus groups with realtors, lenders, housing service providers, small, medium, and large employers, and university representatives in Rockbridge County, Buena Vista, and Lexington.
Dayton Downtown Planning Project Kicks Off
On August 16th, the Town of Dayton hosted a public meeting to kick off their downtown revitalization initiative. Community members and business owners came out to hear about the Town’s plans to transform Downtown Dayton into a vibrant year-round destination and activity center. This marks the first step toward implementing the Community Development Block Grant the Town received from the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development.
CTB Public Meeting Comes to Staunton in September 
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) monthly public meeting will be held at Hotel 24 in Staunton on September 20 and 21, 2022 beginning at 8:30 a.m. each day. On September 20 there will be presentations on topical state-related transportation issues. September 21 will include a public comment period at 8:30 a.m., followed by CTB action items.
Rockbridge Submits VATI Grants 
Rockbridge County submitted two 2023 Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) applications in August to bring universal, high-speed internet coverage to the County. The CSPDC assisted the County with both applications, and if awarded, the CSPDC will provide grant administration services for the County. Awards will be announced in late December 2022.
Shenandoah Rail Trail Update
While communities along the Shenandoah Rail Trail, a proposed 48.5-mile recreational trail between Broadway and Front Royal, await news on acquisition of the property from Norfolk Southern with funding in the Commonwealth’s FY 2023 budget, they continue to plan for the economic boost the trail will bring their way.

The Harrisonburg Daily News Record reported on September 9th that business owners at the Trail’s southern terminus in Broadway are preparing to host visitors with new AirBnBs, restaurants, and expanded parking in Heritage Park. Additional visitor spending once the trail is complete is estimated at $32.3 million per year throughout the region, according to an economic impact analysis prepared for the Shenandoah Rail Trail Exploratory Partnership, an unincorporated coalition of public, private and non-profit organizations championing the project.
CERT Gears Up for Fall
The next basic CERT training course will start in September 2022. For additional information, please contact Rebecca Joyce at or 540.885.5174 ext. 112.
CSPDC Elects New Officers
At their August 15, 2022 meeting, the Executive Committee elected the following new CSPDC officers to serve from July 1, 2022, through June 30, 2025: 

Chair: David Blanchard representing Highland County
Vice Chair: Frank Friedman representing the City of Lexington
Treasurer: Terry Short representing the City of Waynesboro
Secretary: Rhonda Cooper representing Rockingham County

The Commission wishes to express their gratitude to Mr. Frank Friedman for serving six years as its Chair and to welcome new Chair, Mr. David Blanchard.
VEDA Remote Work Panel to Feature CSPDC Localities
Attracting the remote workforce is a new strategy for many communities, with the potential for big impacts on local economies without a big investment in infrastructure.

The Fall Virginia Economic Developers Association (VEDA) Conference will feature a panel presentation with Main Street America, Virginia Main Street, the CSPDC, and the City of Buena Vista. The panel will highlight Virginia Main Street’s Remote Work Pilot Program and discuss how communities can identify existing assets and infrastructure needs to successfully attract and retain remote workers. This session will explore the key commonalities and unique market positions to inspire economic developers across the state.
Rural Planning Caucus Conference
The Rural Planning Caucus of Virginia (RPC) is an organization focusing on the specific planning needs of small towns and rural areas across the Commonwealth.

The annual RPC Conference provides a forum for professionals to gather and share planning information affecting rural areas, and the 2022 RPC Conference will be held on October 19 – 21 at Mountain Lake Lodge in Pembroke, Virginia.
The conference agenda includes sessions on planning for modular homes, broadband mapping, agritourism, and casino land use impacts. 
Virginia Governor's Transportation Conference
CSPDC staff will be attending the 2022 Virginia Governor's Transportation Conference at the Virginia Beach Convention Center from October 26 - 28, 2022. The conference attracts hundreds of industry and transportation leaders to come together to network, exchange ideas, and discuss key transportation issues.
Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference
CSPDC staff will attend the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference this year, which will be held November 16th through the 18th in Arlington. The 3-day conference invites public, private, and non-profit housing partners across the state to discuss important housing issues affecting all Virginians.

The conference will cover topics such as housing policy, development, innovation, and equity. The keynote speaker is Dr. Elliot Eisenberg, who will speak to the connections between housing and economic development.
CSPDC Resources: