Buena Vista, Harrisonburg, and Highland selected to participate in DHCD’s Work From Home Pilot Program

April 14, 2022 | The Work from Home Pilot Program was recently launched by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) to help localities strengthen their remote worker / resident attraction efforts, ensuring they’re built around individuals and place-based strategies. 3 of the 5 localities selected to participate are in the Central Shenandoah Region.

FTA Awards CSPDC $1.2 Million for Transit Hub Rehabilitation

The Federal Transit Administration awarded CSPDC a $1.2 million Bus and Bus Facilities Discretionary Grant to rehabilitate the BRITE Transit Hub at 240 North Lewis Street in downtown Staunton. The federal grant is matched with state and local transit funds, and will rebuild the surface parking lot with a concrete bus lane, defined parking, ADA sidewalks and a passenger boarding area with shelters and safety lighting. CSPDC will also coordinate with public and private partners to install 4 electric vehicle charging stations on the lot. The PDC anticipates construction of the new Hub in 2023.

Virginia Association of MPOs (VAMPO) to Host Environmental Justice Virtual Training

VAMPO will host a free 90-minute virtual training on Friday, April 29th that will explore recent developments surrounding equity, and discuss best practices that planning professionals can incorporate into their work to reflect rapidly evolving policies and legal requirements. The training will be led by Fred R. Wagner, Esq. with Venable LLP. Registration is required. Training is eligible for 1.5 AICP Certification Maintenance Credits, including 1 Equity CM credit. Click Here to Register.

Office of Drinking Water Announcing Funding Programs

The Virginia General Assembly allocated the Office of Drinking Water (ODW) $100 million from the American Rescue Plan Act to improve drinking water infrastructure in disadvantaged waterworks over the next four years. $50 million was allocated in FY21, with the remainder available for FY22 eligibility. Types of projects can include, but are not limited to: water treatment, storage, transmission/distribution lines, and water source needs (limited). The ARPA program provides 100% granting funds to awarded projects. Additionally, ODW is soliciting applications for their Drinking Water Revolving Loan Fund concurrently with their ARPA program and will provide split grant and loan options. Applications for both programs are due May 6, 2022. Additional information can be found on the Office of Drinking Water’s website: https://www.vdh.virginia.gov/drinking-water/arpa/

CSPDC Awarded Community Impact Grant

On April 1st, the CSPDC was awarded a $200,000 Community Impact Grant to complete a regional housing study from Virginia Housing. The study process will begin immediately, concluding in spring 2024. The first year of the study will focus on data gathering and analysis and stakeholder engagement, and will result in an interim data report. In year two, the CSPDC will work to develop regional, partner-based, locality-specific recommendations and strategies.

The CSPDC will be working with the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR), the Commonwealth’s official housing research agency, to complete the study. 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.

To begin the study process, the CSPDC and VCHR will be holding a series of kick off meetings with local government staff over the next month, where VCHR will introduce the housing study scope and garner feedback about what local government staff would like to see from the study results. For questions about the housing study, contact Olivia Raines at olivia@cspdc.org.


Re-Discover Your Ride Campaign

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transit (DRPT) has launched a campaign called Re-Discover Your Ride to celebrate the return to public transit after two challenging years during the COVID-19 pandemic. The campaign highlights the safety measures public transit agencies are taking to ensure rider health and safety. As more individuals return to an in-person working environment, now is the perfect time to encourage riders to return to the public transportation services they used in their commutes prior to COVID-19. DRPT acting director, Jennifer DeBruhl noted that the Transit Recovery Initiative aims to “rebuild confidence in transit service.”

DRPT has also launched a website with rider safety tips, FAQs, and a transit locator tool to help riders find their nearest transportation providers. Locally, BRITE Bus and the Afton Express are participating in this exciting campaign – reaching out to riders through their social media platforms and through radio commercials to remind riders that public transit is still here and is ready to get them where they need to go. The campaign runs through the month of April and features a contest where riders can win prizes for logging their public transit trips in the AgileMile commuter app. For more information, visit http://transitva.org

Public Input Requested on Future Transportation Projects

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) is conducting a spring meeting to allow the public to comment on transportation projects recommended for funding in the Six-Year Improvement Program (SYIP). Our region’s in-person meeting will be on Monday, May 2nd at 4:00 p.m. at Blue Ridge Community College’s Plecker Center.

You can also submit comments online from April 25 through May 23.

The CTB will consider comments as it develops the FY2023-2028 SYIP. The program allocates public funds to highway, road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian, and public transportation projects. All federally eligible projects in the SYIP will be included in the Statewide Transportation Improvement Program to document how Virginia will obligate its federal funds.

Region 8 Council Meets to Consider Four Proposals

During their April 26 meeting at Blue Ridge Community College, the GO Virginia Region 8 Council will consider funding requests for four projects. Two projects are proposed to address impacts from the pandemic:

• The Shenandoah Valley Small Business Resiliency Team (SBRT) intends to deliver a second round of focused services to 60 businesses, particularly those in the hard-hit tourism and healthcare sectors. Services could include e-commerce, finance, or operational systems. SBRT is a partnership of Harrisonburg Economic Development, Frederick County Economic Development, Shenandoah Valley Small Business Development Center, and Lord Fairfax Small Business Development Center.

• The Next Gen Nurses project will address workforce shortages that have worsened during the pandemic. The project will leverage retiring nurses as clinical trainers to expand the pipeline of incoming nurses. Project partners include Shenandoah University, Valley Health, VDH Lord Fairfax District, and local governments.

A third project includes the Scaling Entrepreneurs through Experimentation and Design (SEED) project submitted by James Madison University. The purpose of the SEED project is to accelerate innovations by providing early-stage engineering and product design services. Proposed in downtown Harrisonburg, the project includes new space, equipment, and resources for entrepreneurs.

The final project, Accelerating Advance Manufacturing Workforce, was submitted by Lord Fairfax Community College Workforce Solutions. The project means to address the skills gap in the manufacturing sector by offering a training and credentialling and by directly connecting students with manufacturing employers.

GO Virginia is a state initiative led by local business, education, and government leaders. The mission of the GO Virginia Region 8 Council is to collaborate with regional stakeholders to fund grants that will foster private sector growth and create higher wage job opportunities throughout the Shenandoah Valley, thereby enhancing the lives of all who live and work in the region.

Bath-Highland Network Authority Meeting

The Bath-Highland Network Authority will hold a meeting at the Highland Center at 61 Highland Center Drive, Monterey, VA 24465 on April 11, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. For more information about the meeting, please contact Ms. Hunter Moore at 540-885-5174 ext. 118 or hunter@cspdc.org.