Buena Vista’s $1M CDBG Downtown Revitalization Project is Underway

Buena Vista is moving forward with downtown revitalization activities. This spring, the City jumped into its $1M Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) through the Department of Housing and Community Development. The $1M CDBG project will fund streetscape enhancements along the City’s 21st Street Corridor, upgrade wayfinding signage throughout downtown, and develop a façade improvement program.

In May, Buena Vista installed an official project sign outside City Hall to note the project location, contractors, and funding source. The City has also launched its new, CDBG Façade Improvement Program. City staff and the project architect are currently collaborating with 14 downtown property owners to create façade design proposals. With approval from DHR, Buena Vista will finalize improvements with property owners, procure a contractor, and begin work to the downtown building exteriors. The Central Shenandoah Planning District Commission is providing grant management services for the project.

Listening Sessions Held for Recently Funded Housing Study

Earlier this month, CSPDC staff engaged in a series of listening sessions with local government staff and elected officials across the region to introduce the recently funded Regional Housing Study and garner feedback about the study process. In April, the CSPDC was awarded a $200,000 Community Impact Grant through Virginia Housing to complete a regional housing study. The CSPDC is working with the Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) and HousingForward Virginia to conduct the study.

The listening sessions were a critical first step in the study process, as continued input from local government throughout the study process will shape the direction of the study and its eventual strategies and recommendations. Several themes emerged from the sessions, including a lack of housing options at a variety of income levels from workforce to management level, rapidly increasing home prices, and a lack of large affordable housing developers in the region. Following the listening sessions, the CSPDC will be coordinating focus groups across the region to engage additional stakeholders in the private, non-profit, and public sectors.

This summer, CSPDC and VCHR will also be hosting a data training series for local government staff to cover a variety of data platforms, including American Community Survey and Census data, Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and Comprehensive Housing Affordability Strategy data. The goal of these trainings is to provide local government staff with the tools they need to update housing-related data in the long-term without the assistance of a consultant. If you are a local government staff member and are interested in attending these trainings, please contact Olivia Raines at olivia@cspdc.org.

Mount Crawford Residents Weigh In on Comprehensive Plan

The CSPDC has been working with the Town of Mount Crawford on the development of a Comprehensive Plan. The Town’s Planning Commission is serving as the Comprehensive Plan Development Committee and they meet monthly with CSPDC planners to discuss and draft each section of the plan. The town wanted to ensure the public had a voice in this process, so a public engagement campaign was developed to gather input from residents related to needs and priorities.
The first public engagement phase took place in May. A survey was available in both a digital and paper format. The survey was open from April 12th through May 31st and received 109 responses which represents 25% of the town’s residents.

There were also two open-house style events held in May; at the Town Hall on May 14th and at the Ruritan Club on May 19th. Between the two events, approximately 30 residents came out to share their ideas about the future of Mount Crawford. Attendees provided input through different activities. A “love it or leave it” map allowed residents to place different stickers on a town map to indicate areas or aspects of town that are special to them, as well as points of frustration or opportunities for improvement. Participants could also use stickers to indicate the top three topics they believe the town should prioritize in the plan. Bicycle and pedestrian mapping and open-ended input activities were also available.

CSPDC staff are working to analyze the data from both the survey and the in-person events and will present the results to the Mount Crawford Planning Commission at their next meeting on July 5th. The commission will then use the public’s input to begin developing goals and recommendations. A second public engagement phase is planned for later this year (fall) where residents will be able to review a draft of the recommendations before the plan is finalized.

Ann Cundy Re-Elected as VAMPO Chair


The Virginia Association of MPOs (VAMPO) recently re-elected Ann Cundy, CSPDC Director of Transportation, as Chair. The General Assembly established VAMPO in 2009 to provide education, information, and opportunities for cooperation among Virginia’s Metropolitan Planning Organizations, and among state, federal and community officials. Ms. Cundy will serve as Chair for two years.

Ansley Heller Joins CSPDC Team

Welcome to Ansley Heller, the newest Planner to join the CSPDC staff. Ansley recently graduated from the University of Virginia with her Master’s degree in Urban and Environmental Planning. In her degree, she focused on transportation planning with particular interest at the intersection of active streets and healthy cities. Ansley is originally from Georgia, and has lived in Staunton for three years with her husband Caleb and their two cats. When she is not working, you can find her at any of the local breweries soaking up the sun and playing board games.