A joint letter of intent to form a GO Virginia Regional Council in the Shenandoah Valley was submitted to the state in February. The letter was written on behalf of the Shenandoah Valley Partnership, Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission, Northern Shenandoah Valley Regional Commission, and Shenandoah Valley Workforce Development Board. Referred to as GO Virginia Region 8, the proposed council represents a very large and diverse geographic area covering ten counties and six cities in the Shenandoah Valley, with a population of over 525,000. The Council will fully reflect a mix of large and small business, higher ed and K12 education, elected officials, local government, and economic and workforce development entities. The Regional Council will be responsible for completing an economic growth and diversification plan and vetting projects that help generate private sector growth and job opportunities in the Valley. GO Virginia is a state financed economic development initiative that provides a new framework for strengthening the economy in each of the nine regions of the Commonwealth through enhanced collaboration by business, education and local government. The Regional Council was certified by the State GO Virginia board at its meeting on March 14th.
Bike the Valley, a regional marketing program that promotes the Shenandoah Valley as a premier bicycling destination in the eastern United States, was recently awarded a Virginia Tourism Corporation Marketing Leverage Grant totaling $12,500. The funding will be used for rebranding the nearly decade old program and switching the current website to a mobile ready platform. Incorporating data and comments gathered from a recent bike survey and economic impact study of the region’s bicycle tourism, the marketing upgrades will be designed to better appeal to the needs of visiting cyclists and to grow bicycle and outdoor recreation tourism throughout the region.
James Madison University (JMU) requested the services of the CSPDC to complete their Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan for twelve high-priority facilities that have a high potential for discharging pollutants. CSPDC staff conducted site visits, identified and mapped potential pollution areas and drainage structures, and developed a set of recommendations of procedures and practices that protect water quality. The project was completed in February and brings JMU into compliance with minimum control measure 6 of their Phase II MS4 General Permit.
On March 3, 2017, the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAWMPO) held its kick-off meeting for the Wilson Workforce Rehabilitation Center Small Area Study. The study will examine alternative/secondary access locations to the Wilson Workforce Rehabilitation Complex, access management along US 250 (Jefferson Highway), and operational and safety issues along the corridor. The intent of the study is to develop short- and long-term improvement recommendations. SAWMPO is leading this effort in collaboration with Augusta County, VDOT and Timmons Engineering. The study is slated to be completed by the end of 2017.
More than one hundred newly designed BRITE bus stop signs will be installed throughout Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro in early 2017. The signs were developed with data collected from a bus stop inventory and feature a design created by the BRITE Transit Advisory Committee. CSPDC staff met with local sign makers and locality staff to discuss the most efficient process for production, as well as to finalize bus stop names and locations prior to collecting quotes and selecting a project vendor.
The Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) has announced that $1.2 million dollars in grant funds are available through the Virginia Dam Safety, Flood Prevention and Protection Assistance Fund. The Fund is managed by the Virginia Resources Authority on behalf of DCR. Eligible projects through the Fund include dam safety projects for local governments and private entities that own existing regulated dams and flood prevention and protection projects for local communities that participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. The grants provided through the Fund are reimbursements and require a 50% match. Grant applications are due by 4:00 p.m. on March 31, 2017.