Should you consider becoming a certified local government?

If your community is fortunate enough to be home to historic sites, you may want to consider applying for Certified Local Government (CLG) status. Once designated a CLG, you can then access grants and incentives that are not available otherwise. In the recent past these grants have included funds for:

Conducting a survey of historic resources;
Preparing nominations to the National Register of Historic Places for buildings, sites, structures, objects and districts in the community;
Developing design guidelines for local historic districts;
Administering a local historic district ordinance;
Preparing a local preservation plan for managing historic resources;
Planning for the protection or the restoration of national register sites;
Preparing a feasibility study for restoration of a historic structure;
Restoration of national register-listed properties; or
Educating the community on historic preservation through the publication of brochures, a speaker’s bureau, or the development of a website.

Currently there are no CLGs in northwest Michigan, although Traverse City, Charlevoix, Cadillac and Boyne City carry a local district designation. The National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 was amended in 1980 to provide for a federal-state-local preservation partnership. Grant funds were made available from the National Park Service through the State Historic Preservation Offices for Certified Local Governments (CLGs) to initiate and support historic preservation activities at the local level.

Since then, nineteen Michigan local governments have become CLGs. Any municipality can become a CLG: a county, a township, a large city or small village, or a town. By meeting a few simple but important standards, a community may receive financial aid and technical assistance that will enhance and promote historic neighborhoods and commercial districts. An active CLG program can become an important planning vehicle for community development by identifying specific preservation projects and applying for grants to carry out the projects. The SHPO provides guidance for all units of government to initiate and develop such programs.

The Benefits of Becoming a CLG
Becoming a CLG makes a community eligible to apply for subgrants available only to CLG communities. At least 10 percent of the annual Historic Preservation Fund grant made to Michigan under the National Historic Preservation Act must be distributed to the CLGs. Becoming a CLG ensures that historic preservation issues are understood and addressed at the local level and are integrated into the local planning and decision-making process at the earliest possible opportunity.

Becoming a CLG can expand a local unit’s participation in the historic preservation program through the National Register nomination process and, with qualified staff, other programs such as review of federal undertakings for impact on historic resources under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Participation in the CLG Program promotes a positive image for the community by being a demonstration of commitment on the part of local officials to work with the state and federal government to preserve historic resources.

Obligations and Requirements
To qualify for certification, a local unit of government must have adopted a local historic preservation ordinance that complies with Michigan’s Local Historic Districts Act, PA 169 of 1970, as amended, and meets the guidelines set forth in the CLG Manual.

Once certified, a CLG is required to maintain an ongoing system for the survey and inventory of historic resources; must develop four-year historic preservation goals for the community;
is required to provide for adequate public participation in the local historic preservation program; may participate in the process of nominating historic properties to the National Register of Historic Places; and will be monitored every four years to ensure that all responsibilities are being met.

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Source: State of Michigan, Historic Preservation

Should you consider becoming a certified local government?

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