Shenandoah Valley Tourism Partnership Launched

The Shenandoah Valley Tourism Partnership (SVTP) unveiled its new marketing partnership and brand message during an event held at the Shenandoah Valley Regional Airport in May.  The SVTP is a professional collaboration between 13 tourism-forward communities stretching from Winchester to Lexington, whose mission is to promote the Shenandoah Valley as an outstanding year-round destination for visitors from around the world.
The SVTP team worked together with consultants over the span of several years conducting research consisting of online surveys, reviews of Virginia Tourism Corporation research, and recent visitor surveys conducted by local destination marketing organizations. The team compared regional initiatives around the United States for differentiation to create the Today’s Shenandoah Valley brand, campaign, website, and social media presence. The results can be viewed at and on Facebook .

Regional Housing Summit Held

Home pictureThe CSPDC and the Bath County Economic Development Authority hosted a free Regional Housing Summit on May 25, 2017 in Hot Springs. Attendees learned strategies to address the demand for affordable workforce housing in their community. Summit speakers focused on the connection between housing and economic development, as well as funding opportunities to increase affordable housing options through homeownership, rental housing, housing rehabilitation, and new construction. Local government staff, including community development, economic development and workforce development; local elected officials; housing organizations and nonprofits; and other community leaders were in attendance.

Buena Vista Set to Receive Transportation Alternatives Grant

The Commonwealth Transportation Board has announced their tentative awards for the FY18 Transportation Alternatives (TA) program.
Administered by VDOT, TA funds bicycle and pedestrian infrastructure and Safe Routes to School projects. Tentative grant recipients include the City of Buena Vista. Buena Vista requested funding for two projects: sidewalks and streetscaping on Magnolia Avenue (US 501), and the construction of a paved, shareduse path under the Rte. 60 bridge linking the city’s existing sidewalk network and the Chessie Trail. The Commonwealth Transportation Board will make the grant awards final at their June 2017 meeting. The CSPDC assisted with and provided letters of support for projects in three communities this year: the Town of Bridgewater, the City of Buena Vista, and the City of Waynesboro.

Water and Sewer Infrastructure Financing Workshop Held

On May 4, the CSPDC hosted a Water and Sewer Infrastructure Financing Workshop for the localities in the region. The goal was to equip participants with knowledge and resources to make informed decisions about financing their water and sewer projects. Subject matter experts from VA Department of Health, VA Department of Environmental Quality, VA Department of Housing and Community Development, Southeast Rural Community Assistance Project, and USDA Rural Development presented funding options available through
their respective programs. CSPDC oncall consultants who sponsored the workshop include: A. Morton Thomas and Associates, Draper Aden Associates, Hurt & Proffitt, Timmons Group, and Vanasse Hangen Brustlin. The workshop was well received by participants. As one attendee expressed via email: “Thank you very much for this morning’s workshop. Very well done and good information frommultiple agencies!”

Broadway Updating Comprehensive Plan

CSPDC staff is assisting the Town of Broadway in the updating of its Comprehensive Plan. Members of the planning group will meet monthly over the next year and guide the update of the Comprehensive Plan by reviewing current data, demographics, and information. Once the update is completed, the Planning Commission and the Town Council will hold public hearings to consider the adoption of the proposed
Comprehensive Plan.

Commonwealth Transportation Board Member Visits

IMG_1919 (800x600)Staunton District member of the Commonwealth Transportation Board, F. Dixon Whitworth,Jr., visited the region on May 3, 2017. Mr. Whitworth attended the Staunton Augusta Waynesboro Metropolitan Planning Organization(MPO) Policy Board meeting, where he heard a presentation on past and upcoming local projects, and then shared valuable information with the Policy Board regarding several transportation funding programs. Following the MPO meeting, CSPDC, local government, and Virginia Department ofTransportation (VDOT) staff hosted Mr. Whitworth on a tour of project sites in Rockbridge County and the cities of Buena Vista and Lexington. Many of these sites are critical to the
Chessie Trail Rails-to-Trails facility and the great Brushy Hills to the Blue Ridge Parkway Greenway system.Later this month, Mr. Whitworth will give a report to the Commonwealth Transportation Board regarding the importance of Revenue Sharing and other funding programs to rural communities like those in the CSPDC.

New Study Measures Economic Impact of Agritourism in Virginia

A new economic impact study, conducted by Dr. Vince Magnini with the Virginia Tech Pamplin College of Business, shows that Virginia’s agritourism industry accounts for $2.2 billion in economic activity. The report also shows that the economic activity attributed to the Commonwealth’s 1,400 agritourism businesses supports 22,000 jobs, contributes $840 million in income, and injects $135 million in state and local taxes. The study is the first statewide benchmark report to measure the economic and fiscal impacts of Virginia’s agritourism sector.

The Shenandoah Valley has the third highest concentration of venues according to the study, bringing in nearly $363 million in revenue. Read the full report HERE.


Bike Month and Bike/Walk To Work Day Events

bike month posterMay is National Bike Month, an annual celebration that increases awareness and participation in bicycling as a healthy, economic, and sustainable transportation option. The CSPDC and its Rideshare Program are assisting the City of Staunton and Harrisonburg’s Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition with events and activities on Bike to Work Day, May 19th. The Staunton Bike/Walk to Work Commuter Breakfast  will be held downtown at the Wharf parking lot from 7:30 a.m. – 9:30 a.m. Harrisonburg’s event will be at Court Square in downtown Harrisonburg from 7:00 a.m. until 10:00 a.m. Both events are free!

Visit Bike the Valley and Shenandoah Valley Bicycle Coalition for updates on activities being held throughout May in addition to Bike to Work Day including: Confident City Cycling Class, Glowstick Ride on the Bluestone Trail, and the annual Bike, Run, Sweat and Beers ride.

CSPDC Selects Transit Contractor

brite bus

Earlier this year, a Proposal Analysis Group reviewed and scored proposals submitted by three firms interested in providing turnkey operation of the BRITE transit services.  On March 15th, the CSPDC published notice to enter into contract with Virginia Regional Transit as the transit provider for the BRITE system.  The resulting contract for an initial five-year period will be effective July 1, 2017 and will provide transit service in the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro area.  The BRITE transit system includes routes to Blue Ridge Community College, Stuarts Draft, Augusta Health, Wilson Workforce and Rehabilitation Center and throughout the cities of Staunton and Waynesboro.

Craigsville Community Strong Kicks Off

Craigsville Community Strong Steering Committee

Craigsville Community Strong Steering Committee

Through the support of the CSPDC’s Community Strong Program, the town of Craigsville is developing an action plan that will set priorities, identify partnerships, strategies, and funding possibilities, and guide the town and its leaders in making community and economic development decisions.

The Community Strong Program is expected to take eight months to complete, and during this time the CSPDC will work closely with the town and a project committee to provide facilitation, staff support, technical assistance, and resources.

The CSPDC’s Community Strong Program is supported by a Rural Community Development Initiative grant through the U.S. Department of Agriculture and provides small towns and rural communities with tools to identify and address community and economic development needs.

To date, Community Strong projects have been completed in Glasgow and Goshen.