CSPDC Director of Transportation Ann Cundy presented at the Association of MPOs (AMPO) Annual Conference in Minneapolis, MN in October. She and PlanRVA Director of Transportation Chet Parsons developed a session with consultants Avid Core, Inc. around hybrid public involvement. Avid Core has worked with both MPOs on public involvement strategies to connect with people virtually and in person. The session addressed how strategies can be scaled for the size of the MPO staff and the needs of the region.
The CSPDC is giving back during the holiday season by serving as a collection site for the United Way’s Greatest Needs Drive. Each year the United Way of Harrisonburg-Rockingham County holds a donation drive to collect the items most needed by organizations in the community. The United Way assembles a list of needs from local organizations and volunteers are assigned a category of items to collect. Types of items needed are personal hygiene products, cleaning and paper products, household items, items for children and babies, food and kitchen items, school supplies, and other miscellaneous products.
The CSPDC is collecting food and kitchen items (specific items are listed below). Products should be new and unopened. If you’re interested in dropping off items to contribute to the Greatest Needs Drive you can deliver items to the CSPDC Office located at 112 MacTanly Place, Staunton, VA 24401 during business hours. A full list of items needed and instructions on where to deliver items in Harrisonburg can be found on the United Way’s website at the following link: https://uwhr.org/Greatest-Needs-Drive
Items can be delivered to the CSPDC offices through December 14th and delivered directly to the United Way of Harrisonburg and Rockingham County’s offices through December 16th.
CSPDC Collection List:
Capri Sun 100% Juice Boxes/Pouches
Coffee Filters (cone style)
Ritz Crackers ‘n Cheese dips
Snacks (individually packaged)
Spices (Household sizes – not bulk):
In September, the CSPDC and Virginia Center for Housing Research (VCHR) concluded several months of focus groups and interviews with realtors, lenders, service providers, developers, universities, and employers for the Regional Housing Study. The focus groups were held in Buena Vista, Fishersville, Monterey, and through several virtual sessions. On October 26th, the CSPDC and VCHR convened the Regional Housing Study’s Leadership Team for their second meeting to discuss the findings of the focus groups and determine next steps for data analysis. The housing study scope allows for more detailed data analysis of up to five subtopics, to be selected by the CSPDC in partnership with the leadership team. At the meeting, the group worked collaboratively to select the five subtopics based on the focus group and interview feedback.
The five subtopics for additional data analysis will be:
- Impact of universities and student population
- Vulnerable populations (homelessness, substance use disorder, etc.)
- Naturally occurring affordable housing
- Living arrangements (overcrowding, multigenerational housing, etc.)
Over the next several months, VCHR and the CSPDC will continue data analysis – the most recent American Community Survey data is expected to be released in December, and all data will be refreshed to reflect the most recent demographic trends. Additionally, the study team will begin drafting local data profiles for the Interim Data Report, which is expected to be completed in Spring 2023.
The Highland County Recreation Commission (HCRC) received a technical assistance grant through the National Park Service’s Rivers, Trails, and Conservation Assistance program to develop an outdoor recreation strategic plan for Highland County and the HCRC. The Strategic Plan will identify how the HCRC and its partners can enhance outdoor recreation facilities, develop new recreation opportunities, improve community health, and cultivate a community culture that values physical activity and the environment in Highland County.
The year-long strategic planning process kicked off on October 24th as National Park Service Staff met with stakeholders and visited recreation sites around Highland County. The resulting deliverable will be a 5-year plan the HCRC, the County, and partner organizations can follow to successfully 1) expand outdoor rec facilities in the Town of Monterey, 2) develop outdoor recreation opportunities in the surrounding county, and 3) grow outdoor recreation programs and events that promote community wellness and ecotourism. The CSPDC is providing grant writing services and grant administrative support.
This November, CSPDC’s Housing Program Manager Olivia Raines, was invited to present at the Virginia Governor’s Housing Conference (VAGHC) in Arlington, VA. The conference was held November 16 – 18, and the theme was ‘Build, Expand, Achieve,’ with an emphasis on linking affordable housing to economic development goals.
Olivia Raines, Housing Program Manager at the CSPDC, presented twice at the VAGHC. The first presentation, “Delivering Affordable Housing through Regionalism,” was centered around the $2 million PDC Housing Development Program Grant, which provides gap funds to developers in the region toward the completion of new units of affordable housing. Olivia shared how the funds have been used both toward the development of 60 new units of housing in the region and to further other regional housing initiatives, such as the Regional Housing Study.
Olivia also presented with Virginia Main Street at a session called “Remote Worker Recruitment for Rural Communities,” focused on Virginia Main Street’s Remote Work Pilot Program. The program provides technical assistance to localities that want to develop strategies around remote worker attraction and management. Of the 5 localities that received assistance across the state, 3 are located in the Central Shenandoah Region; Highland County, Buena Vista, and Harrisonburg. The presentation discussed how each localities remote work goals relate to housing needs.
Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is assisting with investing a projected $100 million over the next five years to install public electric vehicle (EV) charging stations across Virginia through the National Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (NEVI) Program, which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIL). VDOT recently completed the Virginia Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Deployment Plan to begin the first phase of installation occurring along interstates designated “Alternative Fuel Corridors,” which includes I-81 and I-64.
Localities will be able to apply for EV charging and fueling infrastructure funding through a related discretionary BIL program in 2023. The CSPDC will share program information with our local planning partners once it is available.