City of Buena Vista Holds Recreation Economy for Rural Communities Workshop

In 2021, the City of Buena Vista applied for a Recreation Economy for Rural Communities (RERC) planning assistance program grant to help grow its outdoor recreation economy and revitalize its Main Street. The city was one of 25 communities across the nation to receive this technical assistance award sponsored by the US Environmental Protection Agency, the USDA Forest Service, the Northern Border Regional Commission, and the Appalachian Regional Commission.

On April 4-5, 2023, the City of Buena Vista hosted a workshop, where local stakeholders came together with city officials, regional, state, and federal partners, and the RERC planning assistance team to develop action plans to strengthen their downtown and their outdoor recreation sectors. During the first session on Tuesday, April 4, roughly 70 participants attended the nighttime workshop to learn about the project and participate in community visioning exercises. During the second and third sessions, on Wednesday, April 5, roughly 45 participants attended the daytime workshop to develop strategies to boost the recreation economy and downtown revitalization, identify actions to implement those strategies, prioritize actions, and develop an action plan to implement high-priority actions.

The RERC workshop was an incredible community-driven process that will result in a concrete, implementable action plan that the City of Buena Vista will be able to use to make visible progress over the next 2-3 years.

Chessie Trail Named to USA Today Top Trails List

USA Today recently announced their 2023 list of America’s Top 10 Recreational Trails, with Lexington’s Chessie Trail snagging the #3 spot.  After being nominated by a panel of experts, the trail was entered into a readers’ choice election and placed third overall. The 7-mile rail-trail was noted for its scenic location in proximity to the Maury River, and access to both canal towpaths and the former Chesapeake & Ohio Railroad bed. In 2021, regional partners including Rockbridge County, the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington, VMI, and Friends of the Chessie Trail concluded a multi-year effort to replace a railroad bridge that was damaged after Hurricane Isabel in 2003. This reconstruction effort closed a key gap in the 7-mile trail and allowed visitors to walk the trail without making a detour. This addition enhanced an already well-loved regional trail and allowed more visitors to enjoy its natural beauty and wildlife.

Public Comment Period on 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan Opens Soon

Using data on where deficiencies in the transportation system exist today, where residential growth and development in the regional will occur tomorrow, as well as community feedback on the vision for the region’s transportation system, the Harrisonburg Rockingham Metropolitan Planning Organization (HRMPO) has developed its draft 2045 Long Range Transportation Plan (LRTP). Input from a record number of community members over the past year has shaped the draft 2045 LRTP, which includes 55 transportation projects across the region.

The public comment period for the draft 2045 LRTP opens on April 20, 2023. HRMPO will be accepting comments and feedback until May 18, 2023. Once the comment period opens you can review the draft plan online and submit feedback directly in a digital version of the document.

Physical copies of the draft 2045 LRTP will be available for review at the Harrisonburg City Hall, the Rockingham County Administration Center, Town of Dayton City Hall, Mt. Crawford Town Municipal Building, Bridgewater Community Center, and the Massanutten Regional Library.

HRMPO, which is staffed by CSPDC, is also offering virtual and in-person opportunities to review the draft LRTP, ask questions, and share feedback.

Save the date and make plans to attend one of the following events:

Webinar on April 25, 2023
HRMPO is offering two webinar sessions. The webinar recording will be made available on the HRMPO website after the sessions.

Public Meeting on May 4, 2023
Mark your calendar for HRMPO’s public meeting on May 4, 2023 in the Community Room at the Rockingham County Administration Center. Drop by any time between 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m.

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


Public Feedback on BRCC Shuttle Schedule Change Requested

Starting in June the hours on the BRCC Shuttle North and South routes will be reduced in the evening. Historically, the route served Blue Ridge Community College students commuting to the campus in Weyers Cave for classes. With greater opportunities for virtual learning and the shift toward more online courses, traffic to campus in the late evening has reduced significantly. The existing schedule currently operates until 10:30 pm (South) and 11:00 pm (North) Monday through Thursday, and until 7:30 pm (South) and 8:00 pm (North) on Friday.

To better align service with demand, the routes will now end at 5:30 pm (South), and 6:00 pm (North). The new hours will be the same Monday through Friday. This change will go into effect on Monday, June 5, 2023, and will be a permanent change.

We recognize that any change to a transit schedule may have an impact on existing riders and the general public. The CSPDC and BRITE Bus offer opportunities for the public to provide feedback on these changes. There are multiple options for providing feedback.


CSPDC & BRITE Bus staff will be hosting pop-up events throughout the month of April to talk with riders about the upcoming changes. If you’d like to provide feedback in person, you can speak with staff at the following dates and times:

BRCC Houff Student Center – April 19th from 9:00 – 11:00 am, and April 20th from 12:00 – 2:00 pm
JMU Godwin Transit Center – April 25th from 1:00 – 3:00 pm
Staunton Lewis Street Hub – April 27th from 11:30 am – 1:30 pm


An online survey will be available through May 19th. The survey will ask a few questions to help us understand how riders use the BRCC routes, and provides an open-ended comment box for any feedback you’d like to share. The survey link is available on the BRITE Bus website.

In Writing

You can provide feedback in writing. Please email your comments to Devon Thompson, Transit Planner ( or by mail to:

CSPDC – Devon Thompson
112 MacTanly Place
Staunton, VA 24401

The public comment period is open until May 19th.

VDOT Six-Year Improvement Program Open House Set

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). The Staunton District’s in-person meeting will be on Wednesday, May 3rd  from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Blue Ridge Community College’s Plecker Center for Continuing Education. Individuals are encouraged to submit comments online until May 24, 2023.

The CTB will consider comments as it develops the FY2024-2029 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.

CSPDC Bids Farewell to Rebecca Joyce

Rebecca Joyce, Community Program Manager, resigned from the CSPDC last month. Rebecca joined the PDC in 1997 and began working with the Town of Glasgow on one of the largest flood mitigation projects in the state at that time where 56 homes were removed from the floodplain through acquisition and elevation. Over the next few years, and following Hurricanes Isabel and Fran, Rebecca worked in Buena Vista, Rockbridge County, Waynesboro, Goshen, Port Republic, and Rockingham County on a number of flood mitigation projects again helping hundreds of families rebuild their lives and protect their properties.

From there Rebecca went on to establish the first regional disaster education and outreach program called Project Impact which has provided life-saving information to the citizens and businesses in the Shenandoah Valley for over two decades. One of the disaster educational products that Rebecca conceived and oversaw was the ever-popular Project Impact Calendar.  The calendars contain valuable information on disaster emergency preparedness pertinent to each season along with historical local photographs and humorous daily quotes.

Most recently, she worked with the City of Staunton and the Community Foundation of the Blue Ridge to provide flood relief assistance to the citizens and businesses that were severely impacted by the devasting storms that flooded the city in August of 2020.

She also started the first CERT program in the region which has trained nearly 600 ordinary citizens in what to do before, during, and after disasters.

Throughout her tenure at the CSPDC, Rebecca has worked with multiple jurisdictions in developing their Emergency Operations Plans (EOPs), flood mitigation plans, wildfire plans and hazardous materials plans.  She oversaw the region’s All Hazard Mitigation Plan and its 5-year updates.  The All Hazard Mitigation Plan, a requirement of FEMA,  identifies  and assesses the Region’s natural hazard risks and makes recommendations to mitigate these hazards.

In 2020, Rebecca received the James Madison University John B. Noftsinger Alumni Award for Public Service Excellence. The John B. Noftsinger award recognizes JMU graduates who actively engage with the community, strengthen social equality, demonstrate personal integrity, promote ethical standards of performance and stewardship, and advance professional excellence in the Shenandoah Valley.

As Stephen King, Rockingham County Administrator, so adequately stated: “High levels of ability, competence, intelligence, and commitment, combined with an always cheerful disposition = Rebecca Joyce.”

Rebecca will be missed by many and her service and work in the region will be felt for years to come.

BRITE Transit Facility to Host Paratransit Roadeo

The 2023 Paratransit Roadeo will take place at the BRITE Transit Facility on April 29. Hosted by the Community Transportation Association of Virginia (CTAV), the Paratransit Roadeo draws drivers from around the Commonwealth to compete for top scores on a course that tests skills on every level of the drivers’ abilities, with a primary focus on safe operations and passenger sensitivity. There are two divisions for the Roadeo, both compete against other operators in their division. There are safety quiz, pre-trip inspection, and wheelchair securement portions of both divisions: Body on Chassis and Mini Van.

The event also includes a Young Professionals in Transportation Training and Networking Event April 27 & 28, and the training sessions will be held at the BRITE Transit Facility as well.

More information on CTAV and the Paratransit Roadeo can be found here.

CSPDC Co-Hosting USDA-RD Programs Showcase at Virginia Horse Center

The CSPDC is co-hosting a USDA-Rural Development Programs Showcase on April 19th 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, and a representative from Congressman Cline’s office will make brief remark. 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 17th, 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.