horizontal banner with Preserve America logo and images of a historic downtown, farm, courthouse, and mountain

Preserve America is a national initiative in cooperation with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation; the U.S. Departments of Defense, Interior, Agriculture, Commerce, Housing and Urban Development, Transportation, and Education; the National Endowment for the Humanities; the President's Committee on the Arts and Humanities; and the President's Council on Environmental Quality.

Certified Local Governments (CLGs) and Preserve America Community Designation

Certified Local Governments (CLGs) are encouraged to apply for Preserve America Community designation and have an expedited process to do so, as explained below.

Background

In accordance with Section 101(c)(1) of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Certified Local Government Program was established as a preservation partnership among the federal government, states, and localities to encourage local historic preservation programs. Each participating local community works through a certification process to become recognized as a Certified Local Government (CLG). CLGs then become active partners in the National Historic Preservation Program with certain benefits and responsibilities. The National Park Service (NPS) and the State Historic Preservation Offices (SHPOs) in each state jointly administer this program. View a current list of all CLGs, or for more information, visit the National Park Service Web site.

CLG requirements vary somewhat from state to state. However, all CLGs are required to show both the state and NPS that they are committed to historic preservation. They do this by meeting the following minimum federal requirements:

  • Establish a Preservation Commission
  • Enforce state or local legislation for the designation and protection of historic properties
  • Maintain an active survey of local historic resources
  • Provide for adequate public participation in the local historic preservation program (including the National Register process and other activities)

The Omnibus Public Land Management Act of 2009 (P.L. 111-11) permanently authorizes the Preserve America program and requires the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) to “establish an expedited process for Preserve America Community designation for local governments previously certified for historic preservation activities under section 101(c)(1) of the National Historic Preservation Act (16 U.S.C. 470a(c)(1)).”

Since CLGs, by definition, already have in place some of the requirements for designation as Preserve America Communities, it is appropriate to streamline the application process for CLGs in order to also encourage their participation in the Preserve America Communities program.

Expediting Preserve America Community Designation for CLGs

A Certified Local Government applying for Preserve America Community designation will use the application form and guidance provided below.

Certified Local Governments should make sure to indicate that the community has earned that status in Section 2: Community Information on the application form. The ACHP will give expedited review to all applications from CLGs, jumping them to the head of the line of applications awaiting review each quarter.

Because they must already meet certain minimum preservation program requirements, Certified Local Governments applying for Preserve America Community designation do not have to document how they meet one of the criteria in Section 4C(1) (“having an ongoing, publicly available inventory of historic properties”) as well as at least one of the criteria in Section 4C(2) (“having a local governmental body, such as a board or commission,” and/or “having a historic preservation review ordinance and volunteer or professional staff to implement it”) of the application. The CLG applicant simply needs to check the boxes for the relevant two or three criteria which they meet and then document a minimum of two or three more criteria, as appropriate, at least one of which must be from Category 3: Promoting Historic Assets.

All other Preserve America Community application requirements still apply.

Visit the Preserve America Web site for more information about Preserve America Community designation and its benefits.

Posted March 25, 2015

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