GO Virginia Region 8 Approves 3 Projects

On January 28 the GO Virginia Region 8 Council moved forward three projects to the State GO Virginia Board for final funding approval. Among the three, was the Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study submitted by the CSPDC. GO Virginia funding will match a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant awarded to the CSPDC in December to analyze opportunities for an agricultural facility offering access to a commercial testing kitchen, packaging, and distribution facilities. This project has the potential to assist small to mid-size farms expand their product lines and market reach.
The other two projects approved by the GO Virginia Region 8 Council included an Economic Gardening project submitted by the Shenandoah Valley Partnership and an Industrial Hemp research project submitted by James Madison University. The GO Virginia Region 8 Council’s next meeting is scheduled for May 5 at Shenandoah University in Winchester.
GO Virginia supports programs to create more high-paying jobs through incentivized collaboration between business, education, and government to diversify and strengthen the economy in every region of the Commonwealth. The program is administered through the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development. The CSPDC is one of the support organizations for GO Virginia Region 8.

HOME Funds Awarded

The Homeownership Down Payment Assistance Program (HOME) in the Central Shenandoah Valley region received funding to assist approximately eight first-time, low- to moderate-income homebuyers in 2020. The CSPDC partners with lenders and housing providers in the area to identify eligible home-buyers.
HOME is a flexible gap financing program that provides eligible homebuyers with down-payment and/or closing cost assistance in the form of a forgivable loan. Funds are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Created to help eligible homebuyers obtain decent, safe, and affordable housing, this program has helped approximately 250 people in our region grow their personal wealth and equity through homeownership.

Afton Express Moves Forward

The CSPDC has applied for funds under the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT’s) Demonstration grant program to fund a commuter bus system, the Afton Express, connecting the Shenandoah Valley with Charlottesville. A recently completed study and service plan proposes a Monday-Friday schedule with four trips in the am and four trips in the pm. Stops will originate at park and ride lots in Staunton, Fishersville, Waynesboro and multiple stops in Charlottesville and Albemarle County including UVA, UVA Medical Center, Downtown Charlottesville and 5th Street Station (Wegman’s). The proposed fare will be $3 one way. If funded, the proposed system would be launched in early 2021. Partners include Staunton, Waynesboro, Augusta County, Albemarle County, Charlottesville and UVA.

2019 Population Estimates Released

The University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center released the 2019 population estimates for Virginia and its counties and independent cities at the end of January. These numbers are used by state and local government agencies in funding allocations and planning and budgeting. Since the 2010 Census, the CSPDC’s population has grown by over 15,000 people or 5.4%. Rockingham County and the City of Harrisonburg experienced the greatest growth during 2010-2019. Their populations increased 7.7% and 10.4%, respectively, to add nearly 11,000 people to our CSPDC region. Virginia’s population increased by 6.7% during the same time period.
The population estimates, including components of change, are available on the Weldon Cooper Center website. You can also find population information on the CSPDC’s Regional Data Center.

CSPDC Receives Broadband Grant for Rockbridge and Bath Counties

CSPDC was among 12 applicants across the state awarded grant funds through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) program. The $2.2M grant submitted by the CSPDC on behalf of Rockbridge and Bath counties and in conjunction with BARC Electric Cooperative will help bridge the digital divide and expand broadband infrastructure in the unserved areas of Rockbridge and Bath counties. With over $15M in BARC funds leveraged, the project will deploy a total of 314 miles of gigabit last mile fiber infrastructure that is expected to serve an estimated 1,100 businesses and residences in the two counties. The CSPDC is providing grant assistance and administrative support for the project.