MDAH Historic Preservation

Local Government Assistance

It has often been said that the most effective historic preservation activities are "grass roots" efforts. No one benefits more from the preservation of local historic buildings and sites than the citizens of the local community. Conversely, no one suffers as much as those citizens when local historic resources are destroyed.

Those who live and work in historic homes and neighborhoods see the effects of rehabilitation projects every day and enjoy the economic and social benefits that preservation of the community's historic properties brings. They are the citizens who also feel most personally the loss of a treasured local landmark.

Because the vast majority of Mississippi's historic resources can be saved only through local efforts, one of MDAH's most important functions is to work with local citizens in the protection of their local historic resources. Historic preservation staff members provide assistance to city and county governments and to local organizations on a variety of issues, including preservation awareness, local preservation ordinances, and training for local preservation commissions. Interested communities are provided with sample historic preservation enabling ordinances, sample historic district ordinances, and examples of design review guidelines, as well as other information, such as pertinent state and federal laws.

Certified Local Government Program

The Certified Local Government program is a federal-state-local partnership established in 1980 by amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The CLG program permits local governments that have established their own historic preservation programs--meeting both federal and state standards--to participate directly in the national historic preservation program and processes.

Size, cultural diversity, historic resources, and preservation needs of CLG communities vary greatly, and the CLG program was designed to permit communities maximum flexibility in dealing with diverse preservation needs and to reward those local governments that have established commissions to address the preservation of their local historic treasures. Additionally, CLG communities receive special technical assistance and training from MDAH staff, including

  • programs to heighten local preservation awareness,
  • assistance with drafting preservation ordinances,
  • training workshops for the local preservation commission,
  • and assistance in
    • establishing local historic districts,
    • identifying architecturally and historically significant buildings and sites,
    • preparing National Register nominations,
    • compiling design review guidelines for historic districts, and
    • many other kinds of projects to promote preservation of the community's historic resources.

A CLG preservation commission is also consulted in matters regarding the National Register of Historic Places and federal projects that affect local historic properties.

CLG Grants-in-Aid

In addition to the technical assistance benefits, CLGs may also apply for annual grants-in-aid to undertake historic preservation projects of importance to the community. MDAH annually distributes as CLG grants at least 10 percent of the funds received from the U.S. Department of the Interior through the national Historic Preservation Fund. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis and must be matched by local moneys. Among the preservation projects for which the grants may be used are

  • educational programs/publications;
  • historical, architectural, and/or archaeological site inventory work;
  • National Register nomination preparation;
  • restoration/stabilization of historic buildings;
  • and general staff support for new historic preservation commissions.

To become a CLG, a community must adopt a preservation ordinance establishing a preservation commission in accordance with federal and state guidelines. Once the commission has been appointed, application for CLG status may be made to the National Park Service, through the Department of Archives and History. MDAH works closely with local government officials and citizens to help them create and manage a workable local historic preservation program. To learn more about the Certified Local Government program, please contact:
Michelle Jones
Local Government Assistance Coordinator at the Historic Preservation Division,
Mississippi Department of Archives and History.

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