Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission News
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COVID-19 Dashboard
Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission staff has prepared a COVID-19 dashboard to track regional cases and also includes demographics and mapping of vulnerable populations.

Included in the dashboard are unemployment claims, nursing home locations, and zip code COVID-19 data. COVID-19 cases and deaths are updated hourly from Johns Hopkins. To access the dashboard, click HERE.
Image captured 11/30/2020 at 11:30am
Regional Commission Receives NCMM Grant to Pursue Community Mobility Solutions
We are pleased to announce that Botetourt County has been selected as one of four communities by the National Center for Mobility Management (NCMM), to develop and test ways to address the particular mobility challenges experienced by low-income community members for whom a lack of transportation is an obstacle to the pursuit of economic, health, and social well-being. NCMM is a technical assistance center operated by the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) and funded through the Federal Transit Administration (FTA).

A vibrant community is one where all residents are empowered to pursue economic, health, and social well-being. NCMM recognizes the vital role transportation plays in all activities that support resident empowerment across the board. Yet often community transportation systems lack the resources and/or strategies to provide the level of mobility to residents that they would like to.

For the Community Mobility Design Challenge 2020, four planning grants totaling $71,651 have been awarded to four communities, chosen in a competitive process. The complete list of awardees, and their focus areas, are given below:

Health and Well-Being
1. Botetourt County, VA (Lead agency: Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission)
Economic Opportunity 
2. Perry County, MO (Lead agency: Perry County Economic Development Authority)
3. Ware County, GA (Lead agency: Action Pact)
Access to Healthy Foods
4. North Charleston, SC (Lead agency: Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments) 
 
Before applying for the grant, our community researched the extent of the identified transportation challenge through interviews and other types of primary and secondary research. Later this month, NCMM staff will lead our team in developing insights from our “deep dive” into the specific transportation needs of low-income community members, which will then inform our solutions. During the grant period, our team will develop and propose solutions, test key assumptions about the concepts with potential users, and modify the solutions to ensure they closely respond to the identified challenge. We will also plan how to operationalize the solution, paying close attention to the financial viability and sustainability of the solution.

Our project is bringing together partners from the Eagle Rock Ruritan Club, Botetourt County, transportation, and other community agencies, some of whom have never collaborated together before. We will also create performance measures to show the projected impact of our project, among other key indicators.

For more information, please contact Rachel Ruhlen at rruhlen@rvarc.org.
RIDE Solutions Launches Drive Small Campaign
What is Drive Small? Driving small means sharing a ride to the mall or family dinner, riding your bike to work on Fridays, taking the bus downtown to shop – anything that takes miles off the roads and cars out of parking lots.

Driving Small helps more than just your pocketbook, though. Most of the money you would have spent on gas actually leaves the local economy – mostly in the form of extraction, refinement, and transportation costs for the petroleum that powers our cars. In fact, 90 cents out of every dollar you spent goes to cover these costs and federal taxes. What’s left is the impact that your money has on our local economy.

By Driving Small this holiday season, you’ll keep more money in your pocket, money you can spend on our great small businesses and local experiences when gift-giving.

For more information, visit ridesolutions.org/drivesmall
Chesapeake Bay Foundation Wins Grant to Bring Riparian Buffer Program to the Upper James River Watershed
The Chesapeake Bay Foundation announced they have been awarded a $1.1 million grant from the Virginia Environmental Endowment to expand the James River Buffer Program to the Upper James River Watershed. The program has already shown success in the Middle James River Watershed with the planting of over 81,000 trees since 2019. Upper James activities will begin in January 2021. Interested parties can fill out the Upper James Interest Form to be contacted when the program begins.

More information can be found here
RVARC Completes VDOT Locally Administered Projects Training
Commission staff member Matt Miller recently completed training on Locally Administered Project (LAP) Management for VDOT projects. This allows the RVARC to provide the tools necessary to administer transportation projects within the oversight requirements for state and federally funded projects. The RVARC is now one of six planning districts in the state that are eligible to administer federally funded transportation projects.

For more information, contact Matt Miller at mmiller@rvarc.org.
COVID-19 Relief Funds Available for Public Land Restoration
Funds through the National Environmental Education Foundation have become available to support public lands that have been impacted by increased use during the COVID-19 pandemic. See the grant’s page for more information.
NFWF Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration Grant Opens 2021 Request for Proposal
The National Fish and Wildlife Foundation is accepting applications for its Five Star and Urban Waters Restoration program. The program prioritizes projects that will complete on-the-ground restoration practices, design and implementation of green infrastructure, or environmental education and outreach activities. The final day to apply is January 28, 2021. See the grant’s page for more details.
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.

  • Alleghany Highlands Economic Impact of the Arts
  • Alleghany Highlands Gap Analysis
  • Rural Long-Range Transportation Plan
  • City of Covington Downtown Revitalization Planning Grant Assistance
  • City of Roanoke Neighborhood Walk Project
  • City of Roanoke Pedestrian Safety Campaign
  • Regional Housing Study: Franklin and Roanoke Counties, and the Cities of Roanoke and Salem
  • Promotion and access improvements for the Roanoke River Blueway

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