SAWMPO Open House to Discuss I-81 Exit 235 Improvements Set for March 7

The Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAWMPO) invites the public to attend an informational open house to provide input on I-81 Exit 235 and Route 256 Study improvements. The meeting will be held on Monday, March 7 from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at Blue Ridge Community College (BRCC) Robert Plecker Workforce Center room P126AB.

The study is evaluating mid-term solutions to periodic congestion, and long-term corridor needs and intersection configurations to accommodate future growth along Weyers Cave Road (VA 256) between U.S. 11 and Triangle Drive near I-81 Exit 235.

The purpose of the open house is to provide the public an opportunity to review the potential improvements, provide input through written and oral comments, and discuss the Study with staff from the SAWMPO and VDOT. Responses will be summarized and provided to local government stakeholders in late March.

An initial online public survey was conducted from December 3 to 23, 2021, and received over 347 responses in reference to the proposed concepts. The responses from the survey are informing the development of the final report.

The Study began in March 2021, and it is anticipated to be complete in Spring 2022. The Study Team includes the consultant Michael Baker, and representatives from the MPO, Augusta County, VDOT, BRITE, Blue Ridge Community College, and the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport. The Study will be made available to the public on


Pandemic Recovery and Resiliency Plan Out This Spring

This Spring, the CSPDC will release its Central Shenandoah Pandemic Recovery and Resiliency Plan (CSPRRP). This plan was created through grant funding provided by the “Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act” (CARES Act) and administered through the U.S. Economic Development Administration (EDA).

The purpose of the CSPRRP is to provide the local governments in the region with data, strategies, and resources to assist with recovery from the current COVID-19 pandemic and to aid in prevention measures if another pandemic occurs. Chmura Analytics provided the data research and analysis for the Plan. Input and best practices were gathered from local economic developers and the regional business community during the planning process. When the plan is complete, it will be available on the CSPDC website.

CSPDC Hires Regional Planner

Jeremy Crute was hired as a regional planner and began work on February 7th.  Jeremy grew up in Panama City Beach, Florida, where he developed a passion for helping communities thrive. He received his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics and Community Development from Covenant College and a Master’s in Urban & Regional Planning from Florida State University.
After graduating, he was hired by FSU to be the Senior Planner for the Florida Planning & Development Lab, where he has worked for the last six years. There he enjoyed serving communities across the state of Florida on a wide range of community development, housing, and transportation projects, and he is excited about serving the central Shenandoah Valley in the same way. Jeremy moved to Staunton and is looking forward to becoming a part of the community. In his free time, Jeremy enjoys hiking and backpacking and is happy to have traded Florida’s beaches for Virginia’s mountains.

Housing News

Two new housing-related initiatives are underway at the CSPDC. Later this month, CSPDC staff will submit an application for Virginia Housing Community Impact Grant funds to conduct a regional housing study. The CSPDC is eligible for $20,000 per city and county in the region, totaling $200,000 in grant funds. If awarded, the study will kick off in May 2022, and will span across a two-year period. The first year will involve data analysis, stakeholder engagement, and producing an interim data report, while the second year will focus on developing regional, partner-based, and locality-specific recommendations and strategies.

The CSPDC is co-applying for these grant funds with the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR), the Commonwealth’s official housing research agency. VCHR has a successful track record of analyzing regional housing data, and has led several PDC-wide housing studies. VCHR’s strategies and recommendations will be developed in partnership with HousingForward Virginia, a statewide housing policy and research agency. The CSPDC and VCHR have submitted a draft application and are awaiting a preliminary letter of support from Virginia Housing before final submission.

Additionally, the RFP for affordable housing developers seeking gap funds through the PDC Housing Development Program closed on February 3rd. The CSPDC received 14 applications, representing more than 700 affordable units and $4.3 million in requested gap funds. CSPDC staff is currently reviewing all applications, and will announce award decisions in March 2022.

2021 Population Estimates Released

The University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center released its official population estimates for Virginia counties and independent cities this January. The Weldon Cooper Center’s estimates provide an accurate approximation of a locality’s population count on July 1st, 2021.  Government agencies use this data for funding allocations, planning, and budgeting purposes.

The CSPDC’s 2021 population estimate is 307,875. From the prior year, the region’s population grew by 664 people or .2%. Since the 2020 Census, Bath County experienced the greatest growth change. From 2020 to 2021, Bath County added 67 people to their population count, a 1.6% population increase. In contrast, Highland, Rockbridge, and Rockingham Counties and the City of Lexington experienced a slight population decline since the 2020 Census.

Notably, localities with large college populations were often undercounted in the 2020 Census. For localities with a 20% college population, like Harrisonburg and Lexington, the Weldon Cooper Center compared its 2020 and 2021 estimates in order to correct the undercount.  Once the remainder of 2020 Census Data is released, the Cooper Center will revisit estimates and make necessary adjustments.

The 2021 population estimates are available on the Weldon Cooper Center website. Yearly population data is also available on the CSPDC’s Regional Data Center.


CPE Water Quality Broadcast 2022

Virginia Department of Health staff will present program details on the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) programs: Drinking Water Infrastructure Construction Funding and Septic & Well Assistance Program at a virtual workshop March 16, 2022, 12:00 pm – 3:00 pm. These programs have been funded through the Virginia General Assembly with funds provided by the Federal Department of the Treasury.

More details and registration can be found here:  CPE Water Quality Broadcast 2022

Land and Water Conservation Grants Open

Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is holding an open grant round for $11 million in Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF) grants from February 1-March 15, 2022. LWCF is reimbursement program for the acquisition and/or development of public outdoor recreation areas.

All LWCF assisted areas must be maintained and opened, in perpetuity, as public outdoor recreation areas. The LWCF is a 50-50 percent matching reimbursement program. An updated program manual, application materials, and applicant resources are available at:

Four images of roadways in the Harrisonburg Rockingham region are overlaid with a blue filter. The center text reads “Share your vision. Take the survey” and it includes the web address linked in the post text. The HRMPO logo is in the left corner.

Harrisonburg-Rockingham Region Transportation Visioning

Transportation needs in the Harrisonburg Rockingham region are changing, and the Harrisonburg Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) is offering residents an exciting opportunity to share community priorities that will shape the future of the region’s transportation network.

HRMPO, which is staffed by CSPDC, is providing several ways for residents to convey input that will guide the development of the region’s 2045 long range transportation plan (LRTP) over the next year.

HRMPO is working with Avid-Core, a strategic communications firm based in Northern Virginia. Avid-Core will support the HRMPO throughout the 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan process with a three-phase Public Engagement Plan. Avid-Core and MPO staff have developed a multi-media strategy to engage with the region’s diverse communities, and to raise the MPO’s profile as the regional transportation planning body charged with implementing a collaborative, comprehensive process for investing in transportation improvements. During February, 2022, Avid-Core is helping the HRMPO promote the online Visioning Survey, which will inform priorities in the 2045 Long Range Plan.

The LRTP will cover all modes of transportation across the City of Harrisonburg, the towns of Bridgewater, Dayton, and Mt. Crawford, and portions of Rockingham County. The first phase of the LRTP process is visioning. Residents are invited to:

• Fill out the online visioning survey between February 1 and March 2, 2022.
Tune into the webinar on February 16, 2022 at 7 p.m. or watch the recording on-demand.

HRMPO 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan from CSPDC on Vimeo.

The community priorities identified in the survey will guide which transportation projects are considered in the LRTP, and to develop the evaluation criteria for projects.

Visit for more information and to sign up to receive email updates on the LRTP.