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.
It was five decades ago that President Lyndon Johnson signed the enabling legislation that created the Appalachian Regional Commission, known as ARC. The ARC region encompasses parts of 12 states and all of West Virginia from New York to Mississippi along the spine of the Appalachian Mountains. The agency's goal was to bring impoverished areas of Appalachia into the mainstream American economy.
In the 50 years since, the agency has distributed nearly $4 billion aimed at providing job opportunities, improving infrastructure, increasing educational opportunities, and enhancing residents' well-being. The Appalachian region has gone from 295 high-poverty counties in 1960 to 107 today. The region's high school graduation rates have increased to being almost on par with the Nation's, infant mortality has plummeted, availability of potable water has gone up, and more than 2,000 miles of new highways have been built and opened.
The other positive trends are that unemployment rates in the 13 states served by ARC are now comparable to the rest of the Nation. The poverty rate has fallen from about 31 percent in 1960 to about 17 percent. Despite its investments over the years, an ARC report issued in February showed significant development challenges remain, especially in areas of education, economic and physical well-being.
In our region, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge, Buena Vista, and Lexington are part of the ARC region. With this designation, ARC planning grant funds, administered through the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, are available to these five localities. In addition to planning grant funds, ARC communities are eligible for construction funds for projects like the ones that were recently funded for the Highland Center Renovation Project in Monterey and the BARC Community Solar Project in Rockbridge County.
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.
Each year, the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions (VAPDC) makes several awards to outstanding individuals that contribute to the well-being and success of their communities, their regions and the Commonwealth. One of the awards is Legislator of the Year. This year that award was bestowed on Delegate Steve Landes.
The award was presented to Delegate Landes at the CSPDC Commission meeting on April 20th by Bonnie Riedesel, CSPDC Executive Director and David Blount, Legislative Liaison with Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission. Delegate Landes praised the role that planning districts played across the state, remarking that the collaborative work of planning districts made a huge impact on the local and regional economies.
Delegate Landes represents the 25th District in the Virginia House of Delegates which includes portions of Albemarle, Augusta and Rockingham counties. He is Chairman of the House Education Committee and Vice Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee.
Delegate Landes has a strong record of achievement in a number of areas PDCs support, including reducing unnecessary government spending, spurring jobs creation and economic development throughout Virginia, advocating for small businesses and supporting farmers and ag-related businesses, especially in rural Virginia.
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Around the Region, the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission's monthly newsletter is available HERE.