New Study Measures Economic Impact of Agritourism in Virginia

A new economic impact study, conducted by Dr. Vince Magnini with the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business, shows that Virginia’s agritourism industry accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity. The report also shows that the economic activity attributed to the Commonwealth’s 1,400 agritourism businesses supports 22,000 jobs, contributes $840 million in income, and injects $135 million in state and local taxes. The study is the first statewide benchmark report to measure the economic and fiscal impacts of Virginia’s agritourism sector.

The Shenandoah Valley has the third highest concentration of venues according to the study, bringing in nearly $363 million in revenue. Read the full report HERE.


Bike Month and Bike/Walk To Work Day Events

bike month posterMay is National Bike Month, an annual celebration that increases awareness and participation in bicycling as a healthy, economic, and sustainable transportation option. The CSPDC and its Rideshare Program are assisting the City of Staunton and Harrisonburg’s Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition with events and activities on Bike to Work Day, May 19th. The Staunton Bike/Walk to Work Commuter Breakfast  will be held downtown at the Wharf parking lot from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Harrisonburg’s event will be at Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Both events are free!

Visit Bike the Valley and Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition for updates on activities being held throughout May in addition to Bike to Work Day including: Confident City Cycling Class, Glowstick Ride on the Bluestone Trail, and the annual Bike, Run, Sweat and Beers ride.

CSPDC Selects Transit Contractor

brite bus

Earlier this year, a Proposal Analysis Group reviewed and scored proposals submitted by three firms interested in providing turnkey operation of the BRITE transit services.  On March 15th, the CSPDC published notice to enter into contract with Virginia Regional Transit as the transit provider for the BRITE system.  The resulting contract for an initial five-year period will be effective July 1, 2017 and will provide transit service in the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro area.  The BRITE transit system includes routes to Blue Ridge Community College, Stuarts Draft, Augusta Health, Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center and throughout the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro.

Craigsville Community Strong Kicks Off

Craigsville Community Strong Steering Committee

Craigsville Community Strong Steering Committee

Through the support of the CSPDC’s Community Strong Program, the town of Craigsville is developing an action plan that will set priorities, identify partnerships, strategies, and funding possibilities, and guide the town and its leaders in making community and economic development decisions.

The Community Strong Program is expected to take eight months to complete, and during this time the CSPDC will work closely with the town and a project committee to provide facilitation, staff support, technical assistance, and resources.

The CSPDC’s Community Strong Program is supported by a Rural Community Development Initiative grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and provides small towns and rural communities with tools to identify and address community and economic development needs.

To date, Community Strong projects have been completed in Glasgow and Goshen.

Braiding the Way Unveils Logo


Braiding the Way for Outdoor Recreation in the Rockbridge Area is in the process of developing a Master Outdoor Recreation and Trail Plan for the Rockbridge, Buena Vista, Lexington area.  The Steering Committee has chosen a design logo for the project.  The logo, in the shape of Rockbridge County, uses a colorful braided pattern to represent the greenways, blueways, bikeways and walkways of the area.  The logo will be used to market the area as an outdoor recreation destination.


JMU StarsLiza Vick (CSPDC), Dave Hirschman (Hirschman Water & Environment, LLC), and Devin Floyd (Center for Urban Habitats, LLC) recently teamed up to complete an assessment to identify environmentally sensitive areas on the James Madison University campus as part of the  biodiversity component of JMU’s Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) program. Field work was completed in three specific areas: Edith J. Carrier Arboretum, JMU Farm, and the riparian area near the golf course. The STARS program is a way for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance.

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Adopts Transportation Plan

In March, the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization updated and adopted its Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP).  The 2040 LRTP outlines the goals, objectives, policies and improvements that are needed to maintain a safe and efficient multimodal transportation system for the movement of people and goods throughout the area.  The LRTP is updated every five years.

12.07.2016 017A travel demand model was updated with variables for the 2015 base year and then used as a guide to estimate when and where people will travel and to identify potential deficiencies in the transportation network.  Staff will use the travel demand model and other available data to continually evaluate and track the performance of transportation investments for the region.

Infrastructure Financing Workshop Set for May 4

The CSPDC is hosting a water and sewer infrastructure and financing workshop on May 4th from 9:00am to 12:15pm at the Virginia Regional Transit Facility in Fishersville, VA. All administrators, public works staff, planners, and engineers from localities within the region are invited to attend. The goal of the workshop is to equip participants with the knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about financing their water and sewer projects. Subject matter experts from USDA Rural Development, VA Department of Health, VA Department of Environmental Quality, VA Department of Housing and Community Development, and Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project will present several different options to the localities. The workshop is being sponsored by the following CSPDC on-call consultants: A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Inc. (AMT), Draper Aden Associates, Hurt & Proffitt, Timmons Group, and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin (VHB). A link to register can be found here.

Bridgewater’s Main Street Small Area Study Underway

Bridgewater_VA_Historic_District_Main_StThe Harrisonburg-Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization held a meeting on March 15th with the Town of Bridgewater, Virginia Department of Transportation consultant Kimley Horn to kick off a Main Street/VA 42 Small Area Study.  The study is funded through the MPO’s Small Area and Corridor Study Program, and will focus on access management solutions, street connectivity/realignment, intersection reconfiguration, public policies guiding (re)development, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, and streetscaping along the Main Street/VA 42 corridor in Bridgewater. The Small Area and Corridor Study Program advances projects from the concept to application phase, providing the locality or localities with a project ready for SMART SCALE, or other transportation funding programs.


Shenandoah Valley GO Virginia Regional Council Formed

The Shenandoah Valley GO Virginia Regional Council has been named and held its first meeting on April 3rd.  The 28-member Council represents large and small business, higher ed and k-12 education, elected officials, local government and economic workforce development entities.  The majority of the Council is private sector as required by the state.   At its organizational meeting, Mr. George Pace, Shenandoah Valley Angel Investors, was elected Chairman and Mr. Chris Kyle, Shentel, was elected Vice-chair.  Mr. Frank Friedman, Chairman of the Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission will serve on the Council representing local government in the CSPDC region.  To see a full list of the Regional Council, please click here.

The Regional Council will be responsible for completing an economic growth and diversification plan, overseeing the GO Virginia program in the region, soliciting applications for projects within the region and recommending projects to the Go Virginia State Board for funding.