Telework!VA Provides Telework Program Assistance

Last fall the CSPDC worked with Telework!VA consultant, Robin Mack to host a staff retreat on the benefits, challenges and best practices of teleworking. Ms. Mack surveyed staff and created a customized presentation for both employees and managers to better succeed in our new virtual workplace.

Robin Mack and the Telework!VA team are available to assist other organizations, businesses and employers in the region create and implement a telework program. Contact RideShare or Telweork!VA directly to set up a free webinar and learn more about the services available.

Waynesboro Park & Ride Expands

An expansion of the Town Center Park and Ride commuter lot in Waynesboro began construction the end of March and is scheduled to be complete in May of 2022.

The $1 million project will increase parking capacity from 120 to about 175 spaces, install a bus stop with a covered shelter, and will repave and improve on-location lighting. Additional amenities include bicycle racks, sidewalks, landscaping and infrastructure to accommodate future charging stations for electric vehicles.

The commuter lot, located near the Interstate 64 exit 94 interchange at Route 340 (P. Buckley Moss Drive), will remain open during construction. Barricades will separate the work zone from areas open to the public. The project is funded by the SMART SCALE transportation prioritization program. Additional information can be found on the Virginia Department of Transportation project page.

American Rescue Bill

President Biden signed into law the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) in early March. The $1.9 trillion relief bill provides direct assistance to state and local governments along with billions of dollars for public health, vaccines, education, transportation, housing and more.

In the CSPDC region, the counties of Augusta, Bath, Highland, Rockbridge and Rockingham will receive a little over $36M based on population.  The cities of Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, Lexington, Staunton and Waynesboro will receive around $30M based on a modified CDBG grant formula.  Unlike CARES funding, towns will receive their own allocation. The 11 towns in the CSPDC region are expected to receive over $21M in ARPA funding. Final amounts will be determined by the U.S. Department of Treasury when they issue their guidance.

Allowable uses of funds include 4 broad categories: (1) responding to the COVID-19 public health crisis and its negative economic impacts to households, small businesses and nonprofits, and the tourism, travel, and hospitality industries; (2) providing premium pay to essential workers of local government and local employers; (3) providing assistance for government services due to revenue reductions; (4) making necessary investments in water, sewer, and broadband infrastructure.

The U. S. Treasury Department will provide guidance, oversee and administer these payments to local governments and funds must be used by December 31, 2024.  For more information on the American Rescue Plan Act; click here.

GO VA Site Enhancement Project Approved

The GO Virginia State Board awarded the Shenandoah Valley Partnership (SVP) $821,000 in GO Virginia funds to improve six sites in GO Virginia Region 8. The work to be performed will include Phase I environmental reviews, wetlands surveys, geotechnical subsurface evaluation, and characterization of each site for the Virginia Business Ready Sites Tier program. The six sites proposed for this program are those that were identified as having the greatest return on investment made possible by both public and private sector investments and commitments to the market. Partners included the counties of Augusta, Frederick, Rockingham, Shenandoah and Warren. The total budget for the Site Enhancement Program is $1,916,359 and is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2022. The CSPDC will be providing grant administration services for the duration of the project.

The next GO Virginia Region 8 Council meeting will take place virtually on Tuesday, April 27. For more information about GO Virginia Region 8, please visit their website.

Hazard Mitigation Plan Approved by FEMA

The 2020 update of the Central Shenandoah Hazard Mitigation Plan (CSHMP) has been conditionally approved by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and is pending adoption over the next few months by the jurisdictions in the Planning District. The CSHMP identifies hazards and vulnerabilities of the Region and mitigation strategies that can be implemented to make communities more resilient. Having an approved and adopted Hazard Mitigation Plan also allows the local jurisdictions to apply for hazard mitigation grant funds. A steering committee made up of local and state government agencies and other relevant stakeholders guided the planning process and helped to obtain public input. The plan is available on the CSPDC website.

Augusta County Administrator part of State Vaccine Distribution Committee

WHSV3: Mar. 10, 2021

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) — Augusta County Administrator Tim Fitzgerald is representing the Central Shenandoah region on the Governor’s Vaccine Distribution Committee.

The committee is made up of about nine other county administrators or assistants across Virginia, which meets virtually each week with the state leadership team.

CDBG Grant Applications Due

The Virginia Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program provides funding to local government’s to address critical community development needs, including housing, infrastructure, and economic development. The goal of the CDBG Program is to improve the economic, social, and physical environments in communities through implementation of activities which primarily benefit low- and moderate income persons, prevent or eliminate slums and blighting conditions, or meet urgent needs which threaten the welfare of citizens. Virginia’s CDBG Program is administered by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) with funding through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The CDBG Community Improvement Grant (CIG) application cycle is now open for non-entitlement localities, which are those localities not receiving CDBG assistance directly from HUD. Applications are due April 1, 2021.

Virginia’s CDBG Program also has other Open Submission Funds for planning and implementation projects that are available beginning on April 1.



Ag. Enterprise Center Feasibility Study Update

In February, Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study consultant New Venture Advisors, presented a recommended operating model to the CSPDC and Study Team. The preferred model will continue to be evaluated throughout the duration of the study that is scheduled to complete in May. The model’s concept is to build a centralized agricultural facility and commercial kitchen that supports farmers, entrepreneurs and agricultural enterprises in the Central Shenandoah Valley. If brought to fruition, the Ag. Enterprise Center will provide warehousing for the aggregation, distribution and sale of local products; business incubation and support services for food businesses; and a certified commercial kitchen serving meat and vegetable producers and entrepreneurs.

Next steps include the identification of anchor tenants, development of a capacity model, preliminary breakeven model, building program and bubble diagrams and further financial analysis. Potential sites and a facility floorplan will also be included in the final report.


Regional Wildfire Protection Plan

This winter, the CSPDC completed the Central Shenandoah Regional Wildfire Protection Plan (CSRWPP) to analyzes wildfire risk and offer mitigation strategies for structures in woodland areas. The CSPDC region has many forested and wildland areas including national forests and a national park that put woodland communities at a higher risk for wildfire. Representatives from federal and state agencies, wildfire professionals, local government staff, and citizens helped to develop the plan that was funded through a Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) grant. The CSRWPP is available to the public on the CSPDC website.

Results of Telework Survey

In February, the CSPDC in cooperation with the University of Virginia and the Thomas Jefferson Planning District Commission conducted a public survey to ascertain the demand for a collective workspace in the Fishersville area. Out of 359 survey respondents, 72% stated that their employment has shifted entirely or partially to telework and 61% indicated that they anticipate continuing to telework in the future and utilizing a shared workspace between one and four days per week. The desired amenities for a shared workspace include privacy, security, and enhanced technology and cleaning services. Most respondents were located in Waynesboro (40%) followed by Stuarts Draft and Fishersville (18%) and Staunton (16%). The steering committee will reconvene in March to discuss the survey results and determine the next steps of development.