Commission Adopts Transit Development Plan

The CSPDC Board of Commissioners adopted the BRITE Transit Development Plan (TDP) at their February 6, 2023 meeting. TDPs are required by the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), and serve as a multi-year planning document that provides direction for a transit system and its community partners. The planning process identifies transit needs, develops potential improvements to meet those needs, prioritizes the potential improvements, and identifies the resources needed to implement the projects chosen for the planning period. The planning process was guided by the consultant KFH Group and CSPDC transit program staff, with input from the BRITE Transit Advisory Committee (BTAC), the Staunton-Augusta-Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization (SAWMPO), and the public.

Plans have a ten-year outlook, and are updated every six years. In the next several years, BRITE plans to implement additional days service, microtransit pilot project, additional routes and later hours of service, consider fare-free service, install additional passenger amenities through infrastructure and technology, and consider fleet electrification.


Highland Inn Receives Brownfields Grant

Governor Youngkin announced last week that Highland County was one of four communities in the state to receive a Virginia Brownfield Restoration and Economic Redevelopment Assistance Fund (VBAF) grant. The $341,586 award will support the revitalization of the Highland Inn.

Located on Main Street in Monterey, the Highland Inn is part of Highland County’s economic development strategy to increase tourism through retreat conferences and cultural events. In 2021, Phase 1 of the revitalization effort successfully stabilized and restored the Inn’s exterior. Phase II will restore the Inn’s interior, completing the final step necessary to reopen the County’s only hotel.

The VBAF program assists local governments to redevelop brownfield sites in an effort to attract new economic development prospects. Brownfields are properties in which redevelopment is complicated by the presence of hazardous materials, pollution, or contaminants. The VBAF grant will fund the removal and remediation of lead paint from the historic Inn’s interior.

Work Begins on Lewis Street Transit Hub Rehabilitation

The CSPDC is making progress on the Lewis Street Transit Hub Rehabilitation project. The Lewis Street Hub is located at 240 N. Lewis Street in Downtown Staunton and currently serves the BRITE Bus transit system as a central hub and transfer location for multiple BRITE Bus routes. The lot is also used by the City of Staunton to provide free parking to downtown visitors. Lot conditions have deteriorated over time due to regular wear and tear from daily bus traffic. In March of 2022, the CSPDC was awarded a 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities Grant from the Federal Transit Administration to rehabilitate the lot. This competitive grant funding will allow the CSPDC to improve lot conditions, create a designated bus boarding area, and improve the overall experience of those using the lot for transit and parking needs.

In September of 2022, the CSPDC released a Request for Proposals (RFP) for Engineering and Design services for this project. After reviewing and scoring all proposals based on qualifications, the CSPDC awarded the engineering and design contract to Kimley-Horn and Associates. A notice-to-proceed was issued in January. CSPDC and City of Staunton staff will meet with consultants from Kimley-Horn and Associates in March to officially kick-off the project.

Geotechnical engineers working with Kimley-Horn have begun surveying and conducting field assessments in preparation for the kick-off meeting.  CSPDC staff will meet with their consulting team at Kimley-Horn regularly over the coming months as engineering and design plans are developed. Once designs and site plans have been finalized and approved, Kimley-Horn will assist the CSPDC in preparing a Request for Proposals (RFP) for construction.

The engineering and design phase is anticipated to take approximately six months. CSPDC hopes to issue a contract for construction by late summer, with construction to begin soon after.

Town of Mount Crawford Adopts Comprehensive Plan

The Town of Mount Crawford, Rockingham County’s smallest and oldest originally chartered town, adopted a new Comprehensive Plan on March 13. The Plan identifies goals, strategies, and action items to address community growth, improve existing infrastructure and historic resources, advance the development of new community spaces and parks, and maintain fiscal responsibility.

CSPDC staff assisted the Town’s staff and Planning Commission with developing the Plan, and facilitated two phases of public engagement. The first public survey yielded over 100 responses in a Town of 439 people.

A Comprehensive Plan is a guidance document that defines a community’s vision over a 25-year period. The Plan is not regulatory, and is intended to inform future Town decision-making on key Town issues.

CSPDC Recognizes New Commissioner

Ms. Alidia Vane was appointed to the CSPDC Commission to represent the County of Augusta. Ms. Vane holds a Bachelor of Arts in Politics from New York University, a Master of Arts in Teaching from Relay Graduate School of Education, and Master of Public Administration degree from Baruch College. Prior to her position as Planner for Augusta County, she was the Director of the Shenandoah Valley Animal Services Center.

33rd Annual Environment Virginia Symposium – March 28- 30 2023

The Environment Virginia Symposium will be held March 28-30 at the Virginia Military Institute (VMI) and is hosted by Virginia Environmental Endowment, and the Virginia Departments of Environmental Quality (DEQ), Forestry (DOF), Conservation & Recreation (DCR) and Wildlife Resources (DWR).

This symposium is the Commonwealth’s premier environmental conference which brings together environmental professionals throughout Virginia from all sectors: government, non-profits, academia, and industry. Their joint efforts create better results for our environment for our state and region.

For more information and to register visit:

USDA-Rural Development Programs Showcase Scheduled

In partnership with USDA-Rural Development, the CSPDC will be hosting a USDA-RD Programs Showcase presentation on Wednesday, April 19 from 9am-12:30pm at the Virginia Horse Center in Rockbridge County. At the event, USDA-RD will provide an informative overview of their programs, including loans and grants, that help to improve economic prosperity for the families and businesses in the Central Shenandoah Region. USDA-RD will provide presentations and one-on-one networking with specialty experts in the fields of rural business, community facilities, water and environmental programs, single family housing, and telecommunications. Dupont Community Credit Union and the Shenandoah Community Capital Fund will also give brief presentations to share the economic development services they provide to the region. This event is made possible through the support of event sponsors Dupont Community Credit Union and BARC Electric Cooperative.

Local officials, planners, economic development staff, administrators, housing professionals, community service providers, farm market managers, lending professionals, and small/rural business owners are encouraged to attend this free event. Registration is required by April 14th, and can be found here. Light breakfast, coffee and tea, and mid-morning snacks will be provided. Don’t miss this chance to talk to USDA-RD program specialist and learn how these programs can benefit your locality or organization! To view the agenda, click here.

GO Virginia Region 8 Wants to Hear from You

GO Virginia Region 8 will be hosting three project development sessions during April, two in the CSPDC region. The sessions will explore the GO Virginia grant process and upcoming funding opportunities while brainstorming regional needs and potential projects. Registration information will be posted on the GO Virginia Region 8 website soon.

GO Virginia is a statewide business-led economic development initiative with funding to invest in collaborative projects that lead to high-paying jobs. The mission of GO Virginia is to encourage collaboration among business, education, and government. GO Virginia Region 8, one of nine regions in Virginia, includes the CSPDC’s ten cities and counties plus another 6 localities to the north.

CDBG How to Apply Workshop

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) will hold a How-to-Apply workshop for the 2023 Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) program on Wednesday, March 22, 2023 from 10:00 to 11:30 am. The virtual webinar will provide information on applying for 2023 CDBG funding, important deadlines, and best practices for developing CDBG projects.  The workshop is free, but you must register by March 17th.

The goal of the CDBG program is to eliminate blight and to benefit low- and moderate- income families. To that end, CDBG can fund a wide variety of projects including housing rehabilitation, water and sewer, economic development, entrepreneurship, and downtown revitalization. Planning grants are also available to lay the groundwork for successful projects.

To register for the How-to-Apply Workshop, please click here.

More information on the CBDG program can be found here.


Farm2Fork Affair Returns March 14

Farm2Fork Affair is a one-day connector event between Shenandoah Valley farmers, producers and commercial buyers throughout Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C. The event provides Shenandoah Valley producers an opportunity to directly promote their products, network, and increase sales. Producers, farmers, makers, wineries and distilleries take time to talk with buyers, offer samples, and educate buyers about their products. Through this event, buyers can taste the flavor of the Shenandoah Valley, experience the region firsthand, create new supplier partnerships, and discover its significant impact on local food systems.

Farm2Fork is a collaborative effort of economic development agencies, tourism departments, business development organizations, and local food initiatives. The event has been held since 2015 and in 2019 expanded to draw on the Shenandoah Valley’s reputation as a farm-to-table hub. Buyers at the event include restaurants, universities, hospitals, retailers, grocers, distribution centers, and full-service hotels and B&B’s. This year’s Farm2Fork Affair will be held on March 14 at the Rockingham County Fairgrounds.