News from the CSPDC Region
July 2020

Unemployment Rates in the Region

At the start of 2020, the Region's unemployment rate was below 3%. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic began to impact industries and their workforce in March and by April, CSPDC localities experienced sharp unemployment increases. At 20.8%, Bath County had the highest April unemployment rate in Virginia. As all CSPDC localities showed an increase from March to April, they also reported a decrease in their unemployment rate from April to May. The Region's unemployment rate in May, the most recent data available, was 8.5%, below both the unemployment rate for Virginia (9.2%) and the United States (13.0%).
Thank You Bike Shops

Since the pandemic began, people all over the country have been heading to local bike shops to tune up old bikes, or shop for new ones. Whether cycling is their physical fitness alternative to a shuttered gym, or a safer choice than taking public transit in a large city, Americans are currently riding bikes in record numbers. Bike shops around the region have been busier than ever with repairs and record sales. James Burris, owner of Staunton’s Black Dog Bikes , reports his sales are up 66% from this time last year. CSPDC promotes the region’s bike shops via Bike the Valley ’s website and Facebook page.
Seeks Input

In June, the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) launched a survey to gauge the impacts of COVID-19 on commuting. This was the first in a series of surveys planned over the next several months that will be open to anyone who works and lives in the Commonwealth. The results will help the state better understand how commuting practices have changed. It will also help identify short- and long-term opportunities and improvements during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
VAPDC Summer Series

The statewide Planning District Commission organization (VAPDC) offered an online Summer Series on four Thursdays in July in place of the canceled two-day summer conference. Topics included “The Other Side of COVID-19,” “Travel, Tourism and Leisure,” and “Transportation and Mobility Reimagined.” The last of the series, “Virginia’s PDC’s Regional Responses and Resources,” is scheduled for Thursday, July 30. Registration is required to participate. 
Ann Cundy Elected
Chair of VAMPO

The Virginia Association of MPOs (VAMPO) elected Ann Cundy, CSPDC Director of Transportation, as its new Chair on June 23, 2020. The General Assembly established VAMPO in 2009 to provide education, information, and opportunities for cooperation among Virginia’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and among state, federal and community officials. Ms. Cundy will serve as Chair for two years. 

Study Team Selects
Ag. Center Consultant
In response to a Request for Proposal released in March 2020, 14 highly-qualified firms representing 8 states submitted proposals to conduct the Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study. The CSPDC formed an 8-member Study Team composed of potential Ag. Center users and representatives from businesses and organizations who support local food production, to assist with the review process, and serve as a vital resource throughout the study. 

After conducting a rigorous review process, New Venture Advisors (NVA), an agriculturally focused firm based out of Chicago, Illinois was selected.  
Dixon Whitworth
Retires from CTB

The Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) and the Staunton Augusta Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAWMPO) wishes to express their sincere appreciation for Mr. F. Dixon Whitworth, Jr., for steadfast leadership and dedicated services to the MPOs, and to the people of the region, shown during his term on the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB). Mr. Whitworth, a Shenandoah Valley native, was elected as the CTB’s Vice Chairman last year, having been on the Board since 2012, serving as its Staunton District representative.
GO Virginia Region 8 Chair Retires 

George Pace, a well-known and highly respected business leader from the Shenandoah Valley, has tenured his resignation from the GO Virginia Region 8 Council. Mr. Pace will be leaving his post as Chair and member of the Region 8 Council to focus his time and efforts on helping the UVA Health System navigate the challenges from the COVID-19 pandemic where he serves as chair of the UVA Physicians Group Board of Directors. Mr. Chris Kyle, Vice President of Shentel and current Vice Chair of the Region 8 Council, will assume Mr. Pace's duties as Chair.
Help The Central Shenandoah Health District’s campaign to promote the act of wearing face coverings! 
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