Greater Augusta Tourism Council Reveals SAW Reopening Video

June 22, 2022 | The Greater Augusta Tourism Council (GART), the regional tourism organization for Staunton, Augusta County, and Waynesboro, released a new Staunton, Augusta, Waynesboro reopening promotional video. The video is a part of of GART’s GO Virginia Grant, which developed the the ExploreSAW website and SAW Savings Pass program in order to support local businesses that have been adversely affected by COVID-19.

JMU Launches Project THRIVE | Rebuilding, Relaunching, and Reviving Local Businesses

June 11, 2021

Project THRIVE is a six-week, virtual series that aims to help rebuild, relaunch, and revive local businesses and nonprofit organizations that have been impacted by the pandemic.

The Project THRIVE team is looking for a total of 8 to 10 businesses AND 8 to 10 nonprofit organizations to join their first two cohorts. Selected businesses will start their sessions on June 7, 20201, and end July 15, 2021. Selected nonprofits will start their sessions on July 19, 20201, and end August 26, 2021

New Community Projects in Buena Vista

In February, the Virginia Outdoors Foundation awarded the City of Buena Vista a $78,000 grant to create a new public gathering place on the corner of 21st Street and Magnolia Avenue. Together the City and the ActionBV Committee (comprised of local citizens) plans to transform the site into a community Town Square, providing seating, bike racks, and outdoor recreation information. To promote the use of the Town Square site, ActionBV aided in the installation of a mural and hosted a public movie night in May.

The ActionBV Committee has also recently been accepted into the Citizens Institute on Rural Design’s (CIRD) cohort to begin redesigning and enhancing the entrance to Buena Vista’s River Walk. CIRD is a leadership initiative of the National Endowment for the Arts that empowers local citizens to use their unique artistic and cultural resources to guide local development.

Both projects support the revitalization of downtown and will create a more welcoming City for residents and visitors to enjoy. Community enhancement grant opportunities such as these are made available on the CSPDC Grant Resource Guide.

Logo for Rockbridge Outdoors

As part of their strategic plan update, Rockbridge Outdoors (previously Rockbridge Area Outdoor Partnership) has launched a new brand and logo featuring a compass and the area’s iconic House Mountain. The mission of Rockbridge Outdoors, a partnership of 44 organizations, is to collaboratively advance, create, and promote outdoor recreational opportunities in the Rockbridge Area. This new logo will help promote the Partnership’s efforts and will be used on trail signage and marketing materials. The strategic plan update will be finalized this summer and will outline the Rockbridge Outdoors’s priorities for the next five years. The CSPDC provides grant and administrative support to this organization and its efforts.

Senator Kaine Visits Shenandoah Rail Trail

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine stopped in the Town of Broadway on May 6 during his recent tour of the Shenandoah Valley. He met members of the Shenandoah Rail Trail Exploratory Partnership to learn about their work to build a 50-mile rail trail from Broadway to Front Royal along an out-of-service Norfolk Southern rail line. The Partnership hopes that Senator Kaine’s support will help to move the Partnership and the region closer to building the State’s newest rail trail, which would pass through two Planning Districts, three counties, and connect nine towns in the northern Shenandoah Valley.

CSPDC is a member of Shenandoah Rail Trail Partnership, which just launched a public input survey to assess support for the Rail Trail. We encourage everyone to participate in the survey.

Afton Express Receives Bus

The first bus that will be used in the Afton Express transit service connecting Staunton, Fishersville and Waynesboro to Charlottesville has arrived to the BRITE Transit Facility. Two additional buses will be delivered and branded with the distinctive Afton Express logo prior to initiation of service on September 1, 2021. Marketing and promotional planning is underway and includes an advertising campaign to begin in July.

Ag. Center Feasibility Study Update

The completed Agricultural Enterprise Center Feasibility Study was presented to 56 stakeholders and local government representatives on May 18. A recording of the presentation, an Executive Summary, and the final report can be viewed on the project website.

Since the study began in July, 2020 the CSPDC in partnership with a ten-member study team and consultants New Venture Advisors (NVA), set out to determine the feasibility of a shared-use agriculturally-focused facility that if brought to fruition would support business diversification and growth in the Shenandoah Valley through value-added products and the delivery of agricultural goods and products to new markets. The conducted research resulted in a recommended “Shenandoah Specialty Meat & Produce Hub” operating model that includes a commercial kitchen and meat and produce storage, processing and aggregation facilities. The project’s recommended next steps include conducting an operator and anchor tenant search, strengthening third-party partnerships, performing site search and selection, beginning facility design, refining the business plan, and commencing fundraising. The Study has been funded by a USDA Local Food Promotion Program grant and a GO Virginia Enhanced Capacity Building grant.

Mobile Vaccine Clinics

Central Shenandoah Health District (CSHD) will be offering mobile COVID-19 vaccine clinics in the community in an effort to increase access to COVID-19 vaccines. If your organization is interested in a COVID-19 vaccine clinic, fill out a request formMobile clinics can be walk-up with no registration needed and can be flexible in date and time of clinics. Clinics can serve anywhere from 20-200 people. Ideal locations include festivals, events, block parties, farmers markets, churches, community centers, businesses, and homeless shelters.

Broadband Workshop – June 15

The CSPDC is hosting a Broadband Workshop on June 15 to discuss broadband project development and state funding resources, including the Virginia Telecommunications Initiative (VATI) program. The workshop will feature presentations by Kyle Rosner, Deputy Broadband Advisor to the Secretary of Commerce and Trade, and Tamarah Holmes, Director of Virginia’s Office of Broadband.

The virtual Broadband Workshop is the third of an ongoing series of recovery-related Rural Attraction Roundtables, supported by the CSPDC’s EDA CARES Act funding. The most recently completed roundtable focused on telework and featured the results of VEDP’s Virginia Remote Worker Survey.