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The NRVRC Blog


Pearisburg and Rich Creek Receive Grants for Downtown Revitalization

The Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has announced the Towns of Pearisburg and Rich Creek have each received grants of nearly $700,000 through the Community Development Block Grant program. The grants provide funding to construct public space improvements and repair the facades of commercial buildings in the downtown ‘Main Street’ areas of both towns, as part of a broader strategy to increase business investment in vacant downtown buildings, and attract visitors and customers to spend money in the downtown areas.  The grants are the latest investment by DHCD in Giles County, which has supported a similar project in Narrows, as well as several smaller projects that build on Giles County and the towns’ efforts to increase economic opportunities and business development, with a focus on promoting the County’s many outdoor recreation amenities and connecting them to the towns’ business districts.   Over the past several years, Giles County and the towns have been working with regional and state partner agencies to transform downtown areas into thriving commercial districts again. A recent planning process supported by the Virginia Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) outlines an array of projects to advance a ‘Main Street approach’ to downtown revitalization in each town (more on the Virginia Main Street program at: http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/mainstreet). The related initiatives include: planned physical improvements to downtown buildings and public spaces to create attractive destinations for visitors and new businesses; the expansion and coordination of small business development support resources, and; tourism promotion and marketing efforts designed to connect downtown-based businesses to potential customers—with a special focus on the many visitors to Giles County’s numerous... read more

Transportation Update

The Town of Floyd examines downtown roadway and parking improvements with Regional Commission and Virginia Department of Transportation staff.  In February, Regional Commission staff presented a summary technical report to Town Council.  The report documents the existing right-of-way, and conditions of a local roadway and parking lot.  In addition, Regional Commission staff partnered with local subject experts to develop conceptual improvement visualizations and cost estimates that the Town can use to pursue implementation funds.  The image above, developed by Regional Commission staff, illustrates a new bump-out intersection, aimed at improving sight distance. This report was developed through the Commission’s Rural Transportation Work Program.  Do you have project ideas for your community?  If so, Fiscal Year 2020 program development is underway now.  For further information, please contact Elijah Sharp (esharp@nrvrc.org), 540-639-9313, ext. 210.  .    Share... read more

NRV Housing Resource Guide

Since 2017 the Commission has participated in a regional group working to compile and catalog a comprehensive housing resource guide for the New River Valley.  Many agencies across the region receive requests for housing information, but almost all struggle to consistently connect clients to accurate and up-to-date resources.  This work ultimately resulted in two documents:  a NRV Housing Services guide and a NRV Affordable Rental Housing document. The group reconvened in November to review the guide, share updates, and discuss ways to continually improve the efficiency and reach of the document.  Many partners have been actively using the guide, indicating the need for the information is still high.  One upgrade the Commission hopes to address this coming year is converting the Affordable Rental Housing document to a searchable database.  The information could be filtered based on a range of different criteria for more efficient use.  The guides can be found on the Commission’s website at http://nrvrc.org/what-we-do/housing/. For further information, please contact Jennifer Wilsie (jwilsie@nrvrc.org), 540-639-9313, ext. 204. Share... read more

VTrans 2045 is underway!

 Virginia’s statewide multimodal transportation plan update aims to provide a more complete picture of transportation improvements needed in the Commonwealth.  The first step will involve developing a new vision that will be informed by a public survey, vulnerability assessment, and data trends.  Unlike the 2040 version of the plan, VTrans 2045 will also identify mid-term needs within a 10-year planning horizon and longer-term needs.  Adoption of mid-term needs is anticipated by December 2019 and will inform SMART Scale round four. A guiding theme for this plan update is to increase awareness among public and local agencies.  In addition, the plan will convey trade-offs, relative return on investment, and opportunity cost associated with policy options.  The complete plan, including long-term needs and strategic actions is anticipated to be complete in early 2021.  VTrans 2045 is led by the Virginia Secretary of Transportation’s Office of Intermodal Planning and Investment. For more information contact Elijah Sharp (esharp@nrvrc.org), 540-639-9313, ext. 210. Share... read more

Appalachian Power Supports NRV Commerce with EDGE Grant

The New River Valley Commerce Park, which is an AEP certified site, received support for its efforts to market the park to industries with a $10,000 grant. Plans for the grant include marketing efforts to expand the visibility and awareness of the park among prospective industries and site selection consultants. Over the last year, interest in the NRV Commerce Park has increased including inquiries from 11 prospective tenants and site visits by three companies. Pictured above from left to right: Danny Wilson, Executive Director, Virginia’s First and John Smolak, Appalachian Electric Power. For more information about the NRV Commerce Park, go to www.nrvcommercepark.com or contact Christy Straight (cstraight@nrvrc.org), (540) 639-9313, ext. 209. Share... read more

New River Valley Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy 2018-19 Update

NRVRC staff have begun the 2018-19 update process for the New River Valley Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) document.  The CEDS provides a review of economic data and conditions for NRVRC jurisdictions, identifies goals and strategies that help to address these regional issues, and prioritizes regional economic development projects that the region can undertake to achieve these goals.  The CEDS documents from previous years are available on our website: http://nrvrc.org/what-we-do/economic-development/comprehensive-economic-development-strategy/ This year’s CEDS update process will bring major changes, as NRVRC staff conduct a regular five-year ‘overhaul’ of the CEDS, updating data and revising the CEDS report content to reflect the most recent available economic data, and to align the CEDS strategies with the most recent goals and initiatives of regional and local economic development stakeholder groups. Concurrently, NRVRC staff are working to supplement the standard written report of the CEDS with a parallel web-based format which will provide a more interactive experience that allows users to browse CEDS content by section or by strategic focus areas, such as workforce development or entrepreneurship, and explore related data and partner activities. With data mining underway, the next step is to convene the CEDS think tank, a group of 25 volunteers who represent economic development-related organizations around the New River Valley. The diverse committee has a broad understanding of the regional economy, and a deep knowledge of specific issues that contribute to the region’s economic health.  This year’s committee contains representatives with a variety of expertise, including finance, international trade, small business development and entrepreneurship, educational institutions (both K-12 and higher ed), manufacturing, workforce development, and local government, among others. These... read more

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