CDBG Resources in Response to COVID-19

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is making available current CDBG funding to small cities, towns and rural counties to respond to local needs related to COVID-19 response. Click here to view their Response Fund document.

WIP III Stakeholders Exchange Information

On March 18, 2020 the Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP) stakeholder meeting was conducted by conference call to discuss the CSPDC’s scope of work for 2020, specific deliverables, WIP education materials, and BMP trainings and funding opportunities. Participants included representatives from CSPDC localities, the VA Department of Environmental Quality, Soil & Water Conservation Districts, the Valley Conservation Council, Rockbridge Area Conservation Council, and members of the public. The meeting summary is posted on the CSPDC’s WIP III webpage, along with the 2020 scope of work and other project resources.

Fields of Gold Members Assist Our Region

During this uncertain time, people in our region are coming together and doing great things for their neighbors and communities. For the first time, many Fields of Gold member restaurants, farms, and producers are offering curb-side service/pick-up, at-home delivery, and online ordering to help contain the spread of COVID-19. Here are just a few businesses in our region offering these unique services: Friendly City Co-op, Joshua Wilton House, Stuarts Draft Farm Market, Lundch, The Shack, Southern Inn Restaurant, A Bowl of Good, and Whites Wayside.

Also, in response to the 62nd Highland County Maple Festival being canceled, many sugar farms such as Back Creek Farm and Laurel Fork Sapsuckers, are selling their maple syrup products online. Visit their individual websites to not miss out on Highland County maple syrup this year!

VATI Input Sessions Hosted Online

On April 14 and 23, 2020, the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will host two webinar input sessions to discuss the proposed FY2021 Virginia Telecommunication Initiative program guidelines and criteria. Representatives from units of local government, internet service providers, interested stakeholders, and members of the public are encouraged to attend.

Bath County Housing Needs Assessment Complete

The Bath County Housing Needs Assessment & Market Analysis Study conducted by economic development firm, Camoin 310, was completed in March. The study analyzed data, engaged stakeholders and the public, and identified strategies the County can employ to address Bath County’s challenge to provide housing to its workforce, a concern faced by many rural communities. The study and a video presentation by Camoin 310 can be accessed on the County website.

The study was commissioned by Bath County with administrative support by the CSPDC and funding provided by the Virginia Housing Development Authority (VHDA).  A Project Committee with representatives from Bath County, Bath County Public Schools, Bath Community Hospital, the Omni Homestead Resort and the CSPDC oversaw the project.


GO Virginia Approves Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study

The CSPDC recently received a GO Virginia Enhanced Capacity Building grant to conduct an Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study. The GO Virginia Region 8 Council approved the proposal in January and the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development administratively approved the grant in March. Combined with an awarded U.S. Department of Agriculture Local Food Promotional Program grant, these funds will be used to determine the viability of a certified, commercial, shared-use Agricultural Enterprise Center located in the central Shenandoah Valley. The study will identify what components will be the most successful and beneficial to local farmers, explore physical locations for a facility, and structure a comprehensive business plan to be used for future implementation. Potential uses include a commercial kitchen, food lab/testing kitchen, flash freeze facility, training space for smart-ag classes and seminars, packaging and distribution operations, and business planning resources.

A seven-member study team composed of potential users and representatives from businesses and organizations who support local food production has been formed and a Request for Proposal sent to potential consulting firms to conduct the study. Proposals are due April 16. The project is administered by the CSPDC.

BRITE Bus Offers Fare-Free Service

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, BRITE Bus is offering fare-free service on all fixed and paratransit routes. BRITE Bus hopes this decision will help alleviate some financial burden on its ridership, including community personnel who use BRITE to get to and from work, during this time of uncertainty. Up-to-date service and operational changes, including social distancing standards, will continue to be posted on the BRITE Bus website and related social media outlets.

Have You Completed the 2020 Census?

In 2020, the U.S. Census Bureau will be counting every person living in the 50 states and 5 U.S. territories. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, public awareness events scheduled to occur across the nation on Census Day, April 1, were canceled. By telling the Census Bureau where you lived as of April 1, you will help determine how $675 billion dollars in federal funding flows into communities every year for the next decade. Help spread the word about the importance of taking the 10-minute Census questionnaire! It can be taken by phone, by mail or, for the first time, on-line.