News from the CSPDC Region
March 2021
Results of Telework Survey 

In February, the CSPDC, in cooperation with the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, conducted a public survey to ascertain the demand for a collective workspace in the Fishersville area. Out of 359 survey respondents, 72% stated that their employment has shifted entirely or partially to telework, and 61% indicated that they anticipate continuing to telework in the future and utilizing a shared workspace between one and four days per week. 
Regional Wildfire
Protection Plan

This winter, the CSPDC completed the Central Shenandoah Regional Wildfire Protection Plan (CSRWPP) to analyze wildfire risk and offer mitigation strategies for structures in woodland areas. The CSPDC region has many forested and wildland areas including national forests and a national park that put woodland communities at a higher risk for wildfire. 

2020 Population Estimates Released
The University of Virginia's Weldon Cooper Center released the July 1, 2020, Population Estimates for Virginia and its counties and independent cities at the end of January. This data is used by state and local government agencies in funding allocations and planning and budgeting. The CSPDC’s estimated 2020 population was 303,916. Since the 2010 Census, the region’s population has grown by 17,135 or 6.0%. Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg experienced the greatest growth from 2010 to 2020. Their populations increased 8.5% and 10.5%, respectively, to add 11,630 people to the CSPDC region. Virginia’s population increased by 7.3% during the same time period. The Weldon Cooper Center will update its Population Estimates in the second half of 2021 to include the currently delayed 2020 Decennial Census Count data. 
Ag. Enterprise Center Feasibility Study Update
 
In February, Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study consultant New Venture Advisors, presented a recommended operating model to the CSPDC and Study Team. The preferred model will continue to be evaluated throughout the duration of the study that is scheduled to complete in May. The model’s concept is to build a centralized agricultural facility and commercial kitchen that supports farmers, entrepreneurs, and agricultural enterprises in the Central Shenandoah Valley.  

CDBG Grant Applications

The Virginia Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides funding to local government’s to address critical community development needs, including housing, infrastructure, and economic development. The goal of the CDBG Program is to improve the economic, social, and physical environments in communities through implementation of activities which primarily benefit low- and moderate -income persons, prevent or eliminate slums and blighting conditions, or meet urgent needs which threaten the welfare of citizens.
Fitzgerald to Serve on Governor’s Vaccine Committee 

Timothy Fitzgerald, Augusta County Administrator, has been asked to serve on the Governor’s Local Government Covid-19 Vaccine Distribution Committee. The Committee, made up of a small group of Chief Administrative Officers from around the state, will meet to discuss strategies to increase the rate of Covid-19 vaccinations in the Commonwealth and offer input on what is working and what challenges are being experienced related to the vaccination efforts in each region. Mr. Fitzgerald will be representing the local governments in the Central Shenandoah region.
New CSPDC Transportation Planner Hired

The CSPDC is pleased to welcome Manas Ranjan as a member of the transportation planning team. Manas recently graduated from Rutgers University with a Master’s in City and Regional Planning. While studying at Rutgers, he worked for the Voorhees Transportation Center designing bicycle routes for cities in New Jersey. Before coming to the U.S., he trained as an architect and worked as an Urban Designer. Manas will support the work of the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) and the rural transportation planning programs. 
CSPDC Welcomes New Commissioners

Ms. Laura Dent was appointed to the CSPDC Commission to represent the City of Harrisonburg. She replaces Mr. Sal Romero, who has served since 2019. Ms. Dent is an Adjunct Professor at James Madison University (JMU) and is a freelance technical writer. She has resided in the City of Harrisonburg for 14 years.
 
Mr. Dewey Ritchie was appointed to the CSPDC Commission to represent Rockingham County. He replaces Mr. Brent Trumbo, who has served since 2020. Mr. Ritchie, a long-time resident of Rockingham County, retired after serving 39 years as a deputy sheriff in Rockingham County.
Buena Vista Hires New
City Manager 

Jason L. Tyree was appointed as Buena Vista’s new City Manager beginning March 15, 2021. He grew up in Amherst County and served as the Town Manager for the Town of Buchanan, Virginia for the past three years. Mr. Tyree has a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Liberty University and a Master’s Certificate in Local Government Management from Virginia Tech. Mr. Tyree will succeed Jay Scudder, Buena Vista's City Manager for the past seven years.
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