Regional Commission News February 2018
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GO Virginia Board Announces Second Round of Project Grants
The GO Virginia Board announced today its second round of project grants for initiatives to grow and diversify regional economies across the state. There have now been 18 projects in total with over $5 million in state funds approved by the board which will help create more higher-paying jobs across the commonwealth. In addition to the state’s initial investment, these projects have also leveraged $8.5 million from other sources to assist with GO Virginia’s economic diversification efforts.

GO Virginia Board Chairman John O. “Dubby” Wynne said, “GO Virginia’s momentum continues as nine more projects were approved today, with 4 additional projects moving forward under an administrative approval process. It is exciting to see more regional collaboration for economic development occurring in nearly every corner of our Commonwealth. With this second round of projects approved, GO Virginia continues to make progress in addressing our state’s economic challenges and in lifting up our communities. We look forward to carrying out this important work to boost Virginia’s economy and create more higher-paying jobs over the next months and years.”

The following projects were approved for Region 2:

Western Virginia Regional Industrial Facility Authority (WVRIFA) Wood Haven Road Water and Sewer Infrastructure Enhancement Project
This project will improve site readiness and marketability in GO Virginia Region 2 by making water and sewer utility connections to the 109 acre site being developed at the intersection of Interstates 81 and 581. This is a joint project among the cities of Roanoke and Salem, along with Roanoke County, to have sites shovel-ready for future business prospects.

Region 2 Talent Collaborative
The GO Virginia Region 2 Talent Collaborative will serve all 18 local jurisdictions in the region to stimulate the region’s economic growth by closing the skill and interest gaps in middle-to-high skilled occupations in manufacturing, healthcare, and information technology.

Capital Ecosystem Development
The Capital Ecosystem Development project will allow GO Virginia’s Region 2 to study the region’s current resources to grow new businesses and develop a formal “Capital Pathways Regional Plan” leading to new initiatives to secure more venture capital investment.

Stopping the Brain Drain: Talent Attraction and Retention Action Plan Development and Implementation
This project is focused on developing a strong, proactive talent program and strategy to stop the trend of top-tier talent leaving Region 2. The project will be conducted in tandem with talent attraction and recruitment efforts of the Roanoke Regional Partnership, Onward NRV, and the Lynchburg Regional Business Alliance to retain students educated in the region to increase the number of high-skill job opportunities.

For more information, click HERE
New Public Participation Plan Adopted by RVTPO
The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) adopted a Public Participation Plan on February 22, 2018, replacing the 2007 Public Participation Plan.

The purpose of public participation is to support transportation planning and promote the integrity and transparency of the transportation planning process.

RVTPO wants public participation to be:

  • Meaningful to the public – People should feel that their comments matter. Public input into a transportation plan should be timely, happen early enough to influence the outcome, and continue as the plan develops. The RVTPO is accountable to the public for their input. RVTPO Policy Board decisions reflect the diversity of viewpoints.
  • High quality – When people understand that transportation planning is complex, regional, and long-term, they can give input that is relevant, thoughtful, and practical. The RVTPO educates and explains transportation planning. Clarity of purpose and clarity of expectation improve the quality of public input.
  • Variety of input – The RVTPO seeks a breadth of representation in public input that is from different points of view, different needs, and different backgrounds.
  • High quantity – The more people who are engaged, the better the RVTPO can understand the transportation needs and priorities of the region. The RVTPO will provide convenient and delightful ways to participate with many options of how to participate, and continue to seek new ways to invite participation.

For more information, visit http://rvarc.org/new-public-participation-plan-adopted/
RVTPO Chooses EDR Group, Inc. to Complete Regional Study
The Roanoke Valley Transportation Planning Organization (RVTPO) hired Economic Development Research Group, Inc. (EDR) to complete the Regional Study on Transportation Project Prioritization for Economic Development and Growth (TED Study) which will identify 5-10 transportation projects that promote regional economic development.

A workshop and a focus group meeting with economic development, private sector, and other stakeholders generated draft regional priority transportation needs, strategies, and projects. The draft needs are to enhance connectivity between Roanoke and the surrounding areas and to improve accessibility to Downtown and Urban Development Areas within the Roanoke Valley. Suggested projects to address these needs have focused on I-81, US 220, US 460, and multimodal options. The Policy Board anticipates receiving final recommendations from EDR on April 26, 2018.
Regional Commission Secures Arbor Day Mini-Grant
The Regional Commission has successfully secured funding for the Arbor Day Mini-Grant Program, an annual program to fund Arbor Day activities in the City of Salem, Roanoke County, and Vinton.

With funds provided from the Virginia Department of Forestry’s Virginia Trees for Clean Water program we will facilitate the planting of over 30 trees in the Roanoke Valley this spring.

For more information about upcoming Arbor Day events, please contact Amanda McGee at amcgee@rvarc.org.
Hazard Mitigation Plan Update Begins
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission received its contract from the Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM) last week for the update of the Regional Hazard Mitigation Plan. VDEM received this funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) under the Hazard mitigation Grant Program. 

RVARC serves as the central point of contact for monitoring the implementation of the plan and the required 5-year updates. The most recent version of the plan was approved by FEMA in September 2013. 

The Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000 requires that local governments, as a condition of receiving federal disaster mitigation funds, have a mitigation plan that describes the process for identifying hazards, risks and vulnerabilities, identifies and prioritizes mitigation actions, encourages the development of local mitigation and provide technical support for those efforts. The purpose of this plan is to fulfill the Federal requirements for the Disaster Mitigation Act of 2000. The plan identifies hazards; establishes community goals and objectives and mitigation activities that are appropriate for the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany region.

The Regional Pre-Disaster Mitigation Plan is online at http://rvarc.org/community/hazard-mitigation/
Regional Commission Hosts Floodplain Management Workshop
The Regional Commission is partnering with the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) to provide a one-day Floodplain Management Workshop on March 23rd from 9 am to 5 pm. The workshop will take place at the Higher Education Center in downtown Roanoke.

For more information on the event, click HERE or contact Amanda McGee at amcgee@rvarc.org.

Please RSVP by March 16, 2018.
Regional Commission to Participate in Vanpool Study
A new way to travel is under study by regional transportation officials.

At Wednesday’s meeting of the Central Virginia Metropolitan Planning Organization, the board voted unanimously to update language in the organization’s annual Unified Planning Work Program to allow a study on the viability of a van pool transporting people between Roanoke, Lynchburg, Blacksburg and other Virginia cities such as Charlottesville.

According to Region 2000 Local Government Council’s Transportation Planning Director W. Scott Smith, who serves as the staff to CVMPO, the goal of the study is to identify viable routes where small groups of people could be transported back and forth between cities in a cost-effective manner.

For more information, click HERE
Save the Date: Livable Roanoke Valley Summit
Join the Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley (PLRV) Friday, March 30th to gauge progress on the Livable Roanoke Valley Plan. We will have speakers who will be highlighting programs and successes related to the plan. We will also engage participants in a discussion of future goals and priorities for the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany region.

In 2012 the Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) and the Council of Community Services (CCS) worked cooperatively to create the PLRV and developed the Livable Roanoke Valley Plan.

The PLRV through its planning process pursued a straight-forward approach to understanding and addressing key issues affecting the region. More than 60 partner organizations, and over 1,200 citizens participated in the planning process with the goal of gaining a clearer picture of our region's values, vision, and priorities. Over a two-year period, the Partnership held several outreach events. As a result of these outreach events, the Partnership developed 11 strategic initiatives to achieve goals in the areas of economic development, workforce development, health, and natural assets.
Ongoing Projects
The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission is always working with localities on projects that benefit the region. Some of these projects are listed below.

  • Vision 2040: Roanoke Valley Transportation (Approved in September)
  • Craig County Comprehensive Plan Update
  • Alleghany County Wrightsville Neighborhood CDBG Planning Grant
  • Alleghany Highlands Broadband Planning Effort
  • Rural Transit Study
  • U.S. Bike Route 76 Study
  • Providing data for the City of Roanoke Comprehensive Plan
  • Working with Franklin County on "Aging in Place" issues
  • Working with local governments, tourism organizations, and the private sector on a promotional campaign for the Roanoke River Blueway
  • Assisting the Greenway Commission on completing an update of the Regional Greenway Plan
  • Working with the regional local foods partners to examine "Food Hub" needs in the region

For more information on ongoing projects contact  Tim Pohlad-Thomas   or visit  RVARC.org .