The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has released their Fall QuickStart Mini-grant application. These grants are $1,000 reimbursement grants that can be used to start and continue Safe Routes to School programs and activities that encourage safe walking and bicycling to school. Fall applications are due September 10 and October 8. Since these activities will look and feel very different this fall than in the past, VDOT has put together a comprehensive list of application ideas.
In July, the Virginia Breeze intercity bus resumed service in the Interstate 81 corridor between Christiansburg and Washington, D.C. This route now named “The Valley Flyer” includes stops in Lexington, Staunton and Harrisonburg enroute to Dulles Airport and Union Station. Concurrently the Virginia Breeze rolled out a new website, logo, branding and bus design along with two new routes – The Piedmont Express originating in Danville and the Capital Connector originating in Martinsville. Both new routes serve stops in communities as they travel to Washington, D.C.
CSPDC will be seeking input from farmers, stakeholders, buyers, and food aggregators for the Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study. The online survey will be available mid-September through mid-October and will be collecting information on current market trends, facility needs, distribution concerns, and more. Please go to our project website for more information and to participate in the survey.
The feasibility study will 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. The study is expected to be completed in May 2021.
CSPDC News; August, 2020
In August the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) awarded CARES Act Recovery Assistance grants totaling $1.6 million to four EDA Economic Development District organizations in Virginia, including the CSPDC. On behalf of the region, the CSPDC hosted Mr. Dana Gartzke, Assistant Secretary of Commerce for Economic Development, Congressman Ben Cline, grant recipients, government officials, and key stakeholders for an award announcement at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport on August 24.
The four grant recipients include CSPDC, Crater Planning District Commission, Cumberland Plateau Planning District Commission, and West Piedmont Planning District Commission. Each district will receive $400,000 to use to update economic development plans and fortify programs to assist communities in responding to the coronavirus pandemic. The CSPDC plans to develop short- and long-term recovery efforts to expand teleworking opportunities, restart the tourism industry, support small businesses, and strengthen the supply chain of agricultural goods. Efforts also will engage local governments and the business community in creating a region-wide Recovery and Resiliency Plan.
The mission of the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA) is to lead the federal economic development agenda by promoting competitiveness and preparing the nation’s regions for growth and success in the worldwide economy. An agency within the U.S. Department of Commerce, EDA makes investments in economically distressed communities in order to create jobs for U.S. workers, promote American innovation, and accelerate long-term sustainable economic growth.
In June, the U.S. Department of Commerce announced the investment of $2.1M to provide much needed infrastructure for the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport (SHD). This award was the result of application by the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport Commission with extensive coordination, research, and assistance from the CSPDC.
The Department’s award through the EDA is to match a planned investment of nearly $3 million by the Airport Commission to construct corporate aircraft hangars, office and aviation flex space in the Shenandoah Valley Aviation Technology Park. Together the EDA and Airport Commission investment will result in approximately 25,000 square feet of new hangar and office space and create up to 75 high-paying jobs in the aviation technology and aviation maintenance sector.
RideShare, a program administered by the CSPDC in partnership with the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission, has refreshed its website to be more user-friendly and include a new trip planning tool that maps out regional transportation options. RideShare provides commuters, employers, and single trip drivers with resources on carpools, vanpools, park and ride lots, the Guaranteed Ride Home program, and alternate modes of transportation such a biking, walking, and public transit. Together the new information-packed website and the RideShare – Rides & Rewards app, help reduce traffic congestion, increase mobility, and incentivize cost saving alternate modes of transportation throughout the Central Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia.
In August, the Commonwealth launched a new grant program for small businesses and nonprofits called Rebuild VA. The program will provide grants of up to three times the applicant’s average monthly eligible expenses up to a maximum award of $10,000.
These grants are aimed at assisting small businesses and nonprofits that have faced economic distress as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Eligible entities include restaurant and beverage service, non-essential retail, exercise and fitness, personal care and personal grooming, entertainment and public amusement, private campgrounds and overnight summer camps.
This statewide program is capitalized with $70 million, which means it will be able to assist approximately 7,000 businesses. Half of the proceeds will be directed toward small businesses and nonprofits located in economically disadvantaged areas, including ensuring adequate representation of women-owned and minority-owned businesses.