VAPDC Connections

Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions - April 2012

In This Issue
~ President's Message ~
~ Summer Conference ~
~ Great American Cleanup ~
~ RVA MPO to Be TMA ~
~ NRV HOME Consortium ~
~ Visiting Volvo Trucks ~
~ HRPDC Regional TMDL Report ~
~ TEMCI Awards ~
~ Who's the Coolest? ~
~ Unemployment Rates Down in HR ~
~ "The Blueprint" Released ~
~ "Regional Construction Standards" ~
From the President

   Spring has sprung in Virginia, although for most of us winter seemed to be only a brief encounter at most. Though winter was less than harsh, it's still satisfying to see all corners of Virginia blessed with spring and the renewal of our surroundings. Like the world around us, VAPDC is also going through a renewal period that began a year ago by taking an in-depth look at the organization and how to continue to grow the Association as a resource for its members.

   At the end of this month, the VAPDC Board and Executive Directors will meet in Abingdon to review the Strategic Plan and determine how that plan should be updated to provide the most benefit to members while moving forward. Continuing their work for VAPDC Bill Leighty and his partners from DecideSmart are assisting in this process. 

     The VAPDC Winter Conference, Virginia's PDCs: Collaborating for Economic Success, featured speakers like the Honorable William T. "Bill" Bolling, Lieutenant Governor, Commonwealth of VA discussing Creating Jobs in the Commonwealth; Bill Shelton, Director, VA Department of Housing and Community Development providing a DHCD Update; Dr. Eugene Trani, President Emeritus & Distinguished Professor, VA Commonwealth University discussing The Role of Universities in Economic Development and PDCs as Partners; Robert McClintock, Director of Research, VA Economic Development Partnership covering Virginia's Economic Development Strategy; and Alisa Bailey, President & CEO, VA Tourism Corporation discussing Virginia's Tourism Initiatives. The VAPDC Winter Conference was held, for the second year, in conjunction with VML/VACo Legislative day in Richmond.
   Coming on the heels of the spring Leadership Retreat is the VAPDC Summer Conference and the end of VAPDC's business year.
VAPDC also has its annual Business Meeting on July 27th during the conference where we will elect the incoming Board of Directors and officers for 2012-2013. If you were unable to join us in Richmond, I hope you will find the time to participate in all the great sessions that will be offered at the 2012 Summer Conference in Virginia Beach.
This year's Summer Conference will return to the Cavalier Hotel, July 26-28. Conference registration will be open in June. You will be able to make your hotel reservations soon on the VAPDC website. Don't miss your opportunity to be a part of a great location and a meaningful conference. If you participated in last year's NAS Oceana Tour, you'll remember what a fantastic opportunity that was. This year, the committee is planning another great tour of a local Hampton Roads spot. Stay tuned for details.

   While, like everyone, VAPDC, its member commissions, and government at the local, state, and federal level face challenges, we can continue to grow and make the Commonwealth prosper. By continuing to tackle issues from a regional perspective to find solutions that work, VAPDC and Virginia will continue to move forward to success.


President, VAPDC


  • Lenowisco PDC
  • Cumberland Plateau PDC
  • Mount Rogers PDC
  • New River Valley PDC
  • Roanoke Valley-Alleghany RC 
  • Central Shenandoah PDC
  • Northern Shenandoah Valley PDC
  • Northern Virginia RC
  • Rappahannock-Rapidan RC
  • Thomas Jefferson PDC
  • Region 2000 LGC
  • West Piedmont PDC
  • Southside PDC
  • Commonwealth PDC 
  • Richmond Regional PDC
  • George Washington RC
  • Northern Neck PDC
  • Crater PDC
  • Middle Peninsula PDC
  • Accomack-Northampton PDC
  • Hampton Roads PDC
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Make Plans Now!

Working Strategically for Virginia's Future
July 26-28, 2012
The Cavalier Hotel, Virginia Beach
Watch your email for more details about hotel reservations, registration links, conference agenda
and speaker details!
Hampton Roads Prepares to Host the Great American Cleanup National Action Days

     Hampton Roads has been selected as one of 10 national locations for Keep America Beautiful's 2012 Great American Cleanup National Action Days. The selection was a result of the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission's efforts, through its environmental education initiative,, to partner with Keep Virginia Beautiful (KVB). The Great American Clean-up National Action Days are the largest grassroots community involvement program in the United States.

     The Hampton Roads cleanup events, April 27-28, represent the only designated National Action Days project in Virginia and will involve hundreds of volunteers transforming local parks, waterways and recreational areas into cleaner, greener environments.


Roanoke Valley Area MPO Likely to be Designated a Transportation Management Area (TMA)

     The U.S. Census Bureau just announced that the population of the Roanoke Valley Urbanized Area is now 210,111, and includes part of Montgomery County. The Roanoke Valley urbanized area grew by about 11% in land area and the population grew by 6.4% to 210,111. Long Range Transportation Planning is conducted by the Roanoke Valley Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) as designated by federal law, and this increase in population will likely trigger designation as a TMA (Transportation Management Area) in the next few months.  


New River Valley HOME Consortium: Assisted Living for the Town of Rich Creek


     Through a funding partnership of local HOME, State HOME, Community Development Block Grant (CDBG), and private funds, Riverview Commons, Inc, a non-profit corporation, and the Town of Rich Creek will be constructing a 23-bed assisted living community. Assisted living facilities provide support for certain daily tasks, medication distribution, or coordination of health care for individuals who are no longer able to live independently, but who do not need 24-hour nursing home care.

     Riverview Commons has been designed to emphasize a residential environment versus an institutional approach. The 10,000 square foot building will include 23 individual rooms on one floor arranged around a central courtyard, providing each room with natural daylight. 


Regional Learning Experience: Volvo Trucks North America

     The New River Valley PDC continued its regional learning experience program with a guided tour of the Volvo Trucks North America facility in Dublin on December 16, 2011.

     PDC commissioners, PDC staff, local elected officials, local government staff, and other invited guests, toured Volvo's 1.6 million square foot facility gaining valuable insight into the region's largest manufacturing facility. The Volvo staff pointed out that Volvo makes significant contributions not only to the economic well being of the region but also to the social and environmental fabric. 


HRPDC Releases Regional TMDL Report


     The "Hampton Roads Regional Planning Framework, Scenario, and Strategies" final report for the Chesapeake Bay TMDL was approved by the HRPDC at its Quarterly Commission Meeting on January 19, 2012.
     The report was developed to help localities fulfill the request from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) for locality input on the Phase II Watershed Implementation Plan (WIP). DCR Director David Johnson, sent a letter to all localities on November 9, 2011, requesting that local governments provide the following information:
1) Develop a current BMP inventory - this information will be used to update implementation progress data in the Chesapeake Bay model;
2) Evaluate the land use / land cover information included in the model and provide more accurate land cover information you may have - this will be of tremendous assistance in ensuring that model revisions made in the future will more accurately reflect land use information in your locality;
     Read more... 

Transportation Equipment Manufacturing Competitiveness Initiative (TEMCI) Awards for Second Round of Funding 


     Nine projects have been approved for Southwest Virginia's transportation equipment manufacturing industry. The grants provide funding to make industrial plants more efficient, fuel new product creation, or beef up company research-and-development efforts.

     The largest grant recipient for the second round is Dex Truck Parts, headquartered in Floyd. Five other companies successfully competed for the grants: Volvo Trucks North America in Dublin, Salem Vent in Salem, Dynax America in Roanoke, Graham-White in Salem, and TRW Automotive in Atkins.


RVARC Named Coolest Organization 


    The Roanoke Valley-Alleghany Regional Commission (RVARC) was named the coolest organization in the Roanoke region at today's Affiliate Conference of the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition. Wayne Strickland, RVARC's Executive Director, accepted the award on behalf of the Commission while Richard Flora, Chairman of the Roanoke County Board of Supervisors, and Court Rosen of Roanoke City Council presented the award.

     RVARC garnered the Special Achievement Cool Citizen award for its leadership in regional sustainability efforts including:
* RIDE Solutions - Creative strategies

* Volunteers for Energy - free energy audits and recommendations for local organizations, and
* Partnership for a Livable Roanoke Valley - planning to promote economic vitality, environmental quality, and equal opportunity in the Roanoke region.


Unemployment Rate Declines in Hampton Roads
     The unemployment rate in Hampton Roads declined for the third consecutive month, decreasing to 6.8% in January 2012. The region's unemployment rate peaked at 7.5% in January of 2010, with a subsequent peak at 7.3% in October of 2011. The region's unemployment rate temporarily dropped to 6.7% in May of 2011, which was brought about by declining labor force participation rates rather than more individuals finding employment.  The January 2012 improvement in the unemployment rate was accompanied by both strong labor force growth (+6,908) and an even stronger improvement in the number of employed persons (+9,116).
     The labor force has been expanding for eight of the last nine months, indicating that the labor market situation improved regionally during that period, even as Hampton Roads' unemployment rate increased over 7%. The improving unemployment data supports the recent upward revision in payroll employment (+7,800) in the region (see the March 26, 2012 Special Report).
The Release of The Blueprint for Entrepreneurial Growth and Economic Prosperity in Southwest VA


     The Blueprint for Entrepreneurial Growth and Economic Prosperity in Southwest Virginia, a community-based initiative designed to promote entrepreneurial activity in the region, has been released.

     The Blueprint, supported by the Virginia Coalfield Coalition and Appalachian Ventures, was developed to inspire collective action, impact policy, foster regional networks, build on the region's remarkable assets and to seek new investment. 

     During a series of four community forums, economic developers, educators, healthcare professionals, government agencies, entrepreneurs and local business leaders gathered to spend time considering what entrepreneurship means to this region. The format was interactive and collaborative, building upon each participant's expertise and driving toward a consensus on the region's challenges and strengths. These community discussions, combined with dozens of follow up discussions, ultimately led to the creation of the comprehensive document supporting an asset-based strategy for entrepreneurial growth.


Regional Construction Standards Releases Field Manual 


     The Regional Construction Standards, a reference manual of uniform construction standards for improvements in public rights-of-way, is now in its Fifth Edition. A Field Manual for users when they are not near a computer was recently released. While The Standards are available at the HRPDC website, the Field Manual was developed specifically for field construction personnel.

     The Regional Construction Standards, supported by the HRPDC, address "horizontal" improvements and those involving the major elements of roadways, drainage, and utilities (water distribution and wastewater collection). These standards are intended to accommodate most of the typical construction projects in the region and support the majority of issues the communities face in building minor roads and utilities. The Standards are updated periodically and the HRPDC provides training.


VAPDC Connections 


VAPDC Connections is published quarterly by the Virginia Association of Planning District Commissions.


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