Crozet Tunnel Dedication

The Crozet Blue Ridge Tunnel will soon be open to the public for walking and biking. Project partners from the past 20 years joined Governor Northam and Secretary of Transportation Shannon Valentine, Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Bettina Ring and Virginia Tourism Corporation President and CEO Rita McClenny to formally dedicate the Tunnel on September 23, 2020. VDOT, Nelson County, and Waynesboro contributed just over $5 million over the life of the project to restore the Tunnel, and construct trails, parking lots, and interpretive signs along the trail. Congratulations to Nelson County on the completion of this landmark project! Stay tuned for details on the Tunnel’s official open date for the general public.

CSPDC Receives Broadband Funding to Serve Rockbridge County

In January, Virginia Governor Northam announced more than $18.3 million in grants through the Virginia Telecommunication Initiative (VATI) to support broadband expansion to underserved regions across Virginia. The CSPDC submitted an application with co-applicant BARC Electric Cooperative and was awarded a $2.2 million grant. After working through incumbent carrier challenges to the original project submission, the project areas were revised in order that the project could move ahead to broadband construction and deployment. The revised project will bring broadband access to 492 unserved homes and businesses in Rockbridge County resulting in approximately 111 miles of gigabit last mile fiber infrastructure and a total cost of $4.4 million dollars. The CSPDC will serve as the grant administrator and will work with Rockbridge County and BARC through the completion of the project.

CSPDC Assists with Staunton Flood Relief

On August 8, a stalled rainstorm caused up to several feet of flood water to invade many downtown Staunton businesses and homes. Two weeks later a second devastating storm caused additional damage throughout the City. To assist Staunton residents during this challenging time, the Community Foundation of the Central Blue Ridge accepted donations for a Flood Relief Fund. The CSPDC partnered with the Community Foundation to contact residents and record their damages and assess what resources, including the Flood Relief Fund were available. The CSPDC is proud to provide disaster relief assistance such as this to the region’s residents and communities.

SAWMPO Long Range Plan Public Input

The Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAWMPO) is in the final stages of the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan Update. The CSPDC is seeking input from the public on the proposed list of projects in the document. Instead of an in-person meeting, the Plan Update steps and the project list is being presented via an online StoryMap and questionnaire. The StoryMap provides detailed maps and infographics detailing the process and data used to identify and evaluate projects. The StoryMap and questionnaire will be open for the month of October.

Ag. Center Feasibility Study Launches Survey

On September 16, the CSPDC launched a survey to collect data about the region’s food system, and how an Agricultural Enterprise Center could assist farmers and food businesses expand production and access new markets. Collected data will be used for the Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study that is expected to be completed in May 2021. Potential services offered by the Ag. Center include a commercial kitchen, food lab/testing kitchen, flash freeze facility, training space for smart-ag classes and seminars, a food hub that buys and sells local products, packaging and distribution operations, and business planning resources.

If you are a food business operator, farmer, or food buyer who may be interested in selling or purchasing local products through a food center, please fill out the survey by October 15.

October is Transit Appreciation Month

To replace September’s Try Transit Week, the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) launched a new statewide initiative, Transit Appreciation Month. This campaign is in response to COVID-19 and supports the changes that transit agencies across Virginia have made to keep passengers and bus operators and staff safe. Each week during October’s Transit Appreciation Month a different theme will highlight the innovative and perseverant spirit of public transportation during this challenging time. Themes will include transit agency options and initiatives, transit’s essential role in the community, safety measures and employees who have gone above and beyond to provide a safe rider experience. All transit agencies in Virginia, including BRITE Bus, are invited to participate.

Rockbridge Area Outdoor Partnership Receives Technical Assistance Grant

On September 18, the Rockbridge Area Outdoor Partnership (RAOP) received a technical assistance grant from the National Park Service through its River, Trails and Conservation Assistance program (RTCA). The Rockbridge Area Outdoor Partnership, formally known as Braiding the Way, is a community initiative striving to enhance outdoor recreation in the Rockbridge area. RAOP will utilize the technical assistance to develop a 5-year strategic plan, which will guide the Partnership as it pursues projects that prioritize community wellness, environmental stewardship and the local economy. This is RAOP’s second technical assistance grant from the National Park Service RTCA program. In 2018, RTCA facilitated the development of RAOP’s current strategic plan which concludes this December.