The CSPDC has been awarded funding through the Governor's Agriculture & Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Planning Grant program for Fields of Gold - Shenandoah Valley's Farm Trail. Fields of Gold is a regional agritourism program that both directly markets 189 member farms and businesses and provides agritourism-focused business support services to encourage farm/business expansion, diversified revenue and increased sales of local and regional agricultural products. The Fields of Gold program serves an eight-county, five city area and is coordinated by the CSPDC.
This is the second AFID Planning Grant that the Fields of Gold program has received. The first grant funded the development and promotion of the Fields of Gold website (www.fieldsofgold.org). The second grant will be used to further the implementation of the program's goals to boost rural economic development, facilitate agritourism business success and promote the Shenandoah Valley as the top agritourism destination in the U.S.
The AFID Planning Grant program, administered through the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS), is designed to encourage local governments to support agriculture- and forestry-based businesses and to integrate the needs of these industries into their strategic economic development plans. Additional information about the AFID grant program is available on the VDACS website.
The CSPDC recently completed the 31st Community Emergency Response Training CERT) since 2003. More than 500 citizens have taken CERT training during that time. The CERT courses are sponsored in partnership with Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) through funding provided by Augusta County and the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro. The nine-week course is held at the Plecker Center on the BRCC campus and covers basic emergency training that helps the average citizen protect themselves, their families, neighbors and co-workers during severe weather, emergencies or disasters.
A "Bicycling in the Shenandoah Valley" Economic Impact Analysis (EIA) is currently being conducted by the CSPDC in conjunction with regional partners from Shenandoah County Tourism, Bryce Resort, Greater Augusta Regional Tourism, Harrisonburg Tourism, Rockingham County, Lexington & the Rockbridge Area Tourism, Massanutten Resort, and the Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition. The study will:
- Determine the current direct, indirect, and induced economic impacts of cycling within the region;
- Estimate the impact of bicycle tourism on our local retail, lodging, and restaurant businesses;
- Set a baseline of data from which to make future assessments of the effectiveness of marketing bicycle tourism; and
- Guide future marketing efforts in order to increase a positive economic impact for local communities.
A survey that is aimed at both visitor and resident bicyclists will collect study data. It can be found HERE. All survey responses are confidential and respondents are invited to enter to win several prizes provided by businesses around the area. The drawing will take place in November 2015.
State, regional and local agencies around the State have partnered to revise and reissue "Sharing the Road in Virginia: Laws and Safety Tips for Bicyclists, Pedestrians and Motorists." The effort was led by the Northern Virginia Regional Commission (NVRC) and funded by a Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) grant from the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). The updated pocket guides were printed in English and Spanish and include explanations of and references to new bike safety laws, like the 3-foot safe passing law.
The CSPDC received several hundred new guides, free of charge thanks to the FHWA grant, and will distribute them at future public events, especially those focused on walking, biking and public transit. Please contact Ann Cundy, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you wish to receive copies.
The CSPDC produces and distributes over 3,000 copies of Facts and Figures, a publication of regional and sub-regional economic and demographic data. Facts and Figures covers five separate areas:
- Central Shenandoah Valley Region
- Harrisonburg-Rockingham MSA
- Staunton-Waynesboro-Augusta MSA
- Lexington-Buena Vista-Rockbridge
Facts and Figures is distributed free of charge to the public through our local governments, economic development organizations, Chambers of Commerce, realtors associations and tourism centers. A digital version of each segment is accessible on the CSPDC's Regional Data Center. Facts and Figures is funded through a partnership planning grant from the Economic Development Administration, U.S. Department of Commerce.
Enjoy the Insider Newsletter! Stay in the know regarding what is happening on the Fields of Gold Farm Trail. Please click HERE for the newsletter.
Around the Region, the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission's monthly newsletter is available HERE.