The latest on the programs and projects of
the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission.
Around the Region
September 2019
The aftermath of Hurricane Camille in Buena Vista, August 1969 
Photo sourced from the Library of Virginia  
50 Years of 
Emergency Management 

Over the past 50 years, the Central Shenandoah Region has experienced natural disasters ranging from tropical systems, winter storms, tornadoes, and derechoes but instead of succumbing to its vulnerabilities, has decided with the assistance of the CSPDC to forge a path of resilience. 

The year 1969 was a year of historical events; a man walked on the moon, the Woodstock music festival occurred, the CSPDC was established, and Hurricane Camille made landfall as a Category 5 hurricane. By the time Camille reached Virginia, it combined with other weather factors to cause cataclysmic rainfall; 31 inches in Nelson County and 8 inches in Rockbridge County. I n Virginia 153 people died, including 23 people in Rockbridge County. Hurricane Camille was the start of flooding that, over the next 30 years, would devastate communities in the Central Shenandoah Region, including Agnes in 1972, the Election Day Flood in 1985, June Floods in 1995, Hurricane Fran in 1996, and Hurricane Isabel in 2003. 

To end the cycle of damage and repair, the CSPDC stepped in after the 1995 floods to help localities with numerous flood mitigation projects designed to protect people and property through elevation, relocation, and acquisition of homes, and floodproofing of businesses. In 2000, the Shenandoah Valley Project Impact was formed to educate people on how to prepare for severe weather, emergencies, and disasters and to put in place mitigation measures that reduce damages. This was followed by starting the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program in 2003.  For over 15 years, the CSPDC has been assisting the communities in our region with Emergency Operations Plans, Hazardous Materials Emergency Response Plans, and Community Wildfire Protection Plans. The CSPDC also maintains the Central Shenandoah Hazard Mitigation Plan.  
Nancy Gourley and Bonnie Riedesel
BRITE Bus Receives 
Best Practices Award 

The Robert M. deVoursney Best Practices Award was presented to BRITE Bus and CSPDC Transit Manager, Nancy Gourley, during the Virginia Association of Planning District Commission's (VAPDC) Annual Conference in Williamsburg. The award recognizes an organization that has initiated innovative and regional activities which have contributed significantly to the effectiveness of a region. 
BRITE Bus is a small urban transit system that operates in the Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro area and provides public transportation to the citizens of the area. The BRITE Bus program is administered and managed by the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission and is going into its sixth year of operation. For more information on BRITE Bus, go to 

Community Emergency Response Training Begins

Staunton, Waynesboro, and Augusta County, in partnership with the CSPDC, will be offering Community Emergency Response Training (CERT) on Thursday evenings at 6:30 pm from September 26-November 14, 2019.  The course  is free and open to anyone who lives or works in Staunton, Waynesboro, or Augusta County. 
This seven-week course uses a standard curriculum designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and teaches basic skills in disaster preparedness, fire safety, first aid, terrorism awareness, disaster psychology, and search and rescue procedures. The CERT course is designed to give the average person tools to not only prepare themselves and their family during severe weather or other emergencies, but to assist community members and emergency personnel when needed. Contact the CSPDC to register. 
I-81 Advisory Committee Meets

The Office of the Secretary of Transportation and multiple state agencies are implementing the I-81 Improvement Program. The Improvement Program will generate new revenues to fund the top tier of projects in the I-81 Improvement Plan. It also created an I-81 Advisory Committee to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) which includes CTB members, state legislators, and the five PDC Board Chairs from the I-81 corridor. Mr. Frank Friedman, Chair of the CSPDC, serves on the I-81 Advisory Committee representing the localities in the CSPDC region. This Advisory Committee met for the first time on August 13, 2019, in Lexington. With a standing-room-only crowd, the Committee elected Delegate Terry Austin as Chair and Senator Bill Carrico as Vice Chair. VDOT staff shared information about the proposed improvements to the corridor, and presented options for funding them. VDOT will post information on the I-81 Improvement Program on

BRITE Bus to Give Free Rides During Try Transit Week 

Try Transit Week, September 16-20, 2019, is an educational event designed to encourage Virginians to reduce their use of single-occupancy vehicles and try a form of public transportation. Try Transit will be celebrated in Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro with a Free Ride Day on all BRITE Bus transit routes on Wednesday, September 18. Riders can ride any of the BRITE Bus routes, paratransit, or deviated fixed routes free of charge that day.

Try Transit Week was created by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) and transit operators across the Commonwealth to spread the word about public transportation accessibility and its numerous benefits. As part of Try Transit Week, DRPT sponsors a Try Transit Week pledge giveaway. Participants who pledge to "try transit" are automatically entered for a chance to win a year of free transit service from a participating Virginia transit operator, as well as a pair of round-trip tickets aboard Amtrak's Northeast Regional transit.
Delegate Steve Landes, Commission Chair Frank Friedman, CSPDC Executive Director Bonnie Riedesel
Delegate Landes Presents 
50th Anniversary Resolution 

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission. In 1968, the Virginia State Legislature passed the Virginia Area Development Act which set forth the framework for the establishment of regional planning district commissions throughout the state, and on October 1, 1969, the CSPDC was organized. 

This year, the General Assembly passed a resolution in honor of the Commonwealth's 21 PDCs. During the CSPDC's annual meeting on August 19, Delegate Steve Landes presented the resolution to the Commission.  

Buena Vista Receives 
CDBG Planning Grants 

In June, the City of Buena Vista was awarded a Business District Revitalization Planning Grant and an Opportunity Zone Planning Grant through the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). Together the two grants, totaling $40,000, will create an inventory of properties,  address specific revitalization needs to the downtown area, identify gaps in opportunities, and develop an economic development marketing plan for the city.  

Currently, a Project Management Team is being established along with a Physical Inventory Survey of open spaces and buildings in downtown.  A public meeting to discuss initial grant activities and obtain community input for further use of funding will be held in early September. 
Aidan Quirke
New BRITE Bus Transit Manager

Aidan Quirke has been hired as CSPDC's Transit Program Manager to replace Nancy Gourley, who will retire at the end of the year. A native of Virginia, Aidan holds a Master's degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Virginia Commonwealth University and has worked for public transit agencies in Richmond, Virginia and Savannah, Georgia.

Inter-Regional Transit 
Study  Kicks Off

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) has contracted with Kimley-Horn to complete additional research and analysis on the feasibility of Afton Express, a proposed public transit service connecting the Staunton, Augusta County, Waynesboro (SAW) region to the City of Charlottesville. This approximately six-month study will build on previously completed efforts to evaluate the feasibility of this service, while examining specific elements of those studies in greater detail.
Fields of Gold Member Newsletter Published 

The Fields of Gold quarterly newsletter,  Fence Talk, was distributed to the over 230 Fields of Gold members at the end of August. This quarter's publication featured tips about marketing on Instagram, ways to collaborate with neighboring businesses, an upcoming Meet & Greet for the Rockbridge area, and the annual Farmers Market Association conference in Staunton occurring in November. 

Enjoy learning more about Fields of Gold and other CSPDC programs in this year's Year in Review publication. 
Steve Schofield
CSPDC Recognizes 
New Commissioner

In August, Mr. Steve Schofield was appointed to the CSPDC Commission to represent Rockingham County. He replaces Mr. Ned Overton, who has served since February 2015. After retirement from the Navy with 23 active years and 30 years total federal service, Mr. Schofield sought to serve again locally and was appointed to the Board of Zoning Appeals and then to the Planning Commission for the Town of Bridgewater. First elected to Town Council in 2012, he is currently Chairman of the Ordinance Committee and also serves as a member of the Finance Committee. 
Steve Rosenberg
Staunton Appoints 
New  City Manager

Steve Rosenberg was appointed Staunton's 16th City Manager, succeeding Stephen Owen who retired at the end of June after 12 years in the position. Mr. Rosenberg previously served as Staunton's Deputy City Manager for the last six years. Mr. Rosenberg also serves on the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro MPO and the BRITE Technical Advisory Committee.
Angela Lawrence
Dayton Hires Town Manager 

The Town of Dayton has selected Angela Lawrence as its new Town Manager. Ms. Lawrence has over 25 years of experience in civil service, elected positions and nonprofit work. When she first came to Virginia in 1989, Ms. Lawrence worked as a grant's administrator in Ashland. Ms. Lawrence went on to serve on the Town's Planning Commission in 1996 and was elected to council in 2000 and then Mayor in 2002. 
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