More than $2 million is available for preservation projects across the state through a popular grant program administered by the Department of Archives and History. The 2011 Mississippi legislature authorized the eighth round of the Community Heritage Preservation Grant Program, which helps preserve, restore, rehabilitate, and interpret historic courthouses and schools. In Certified Local Government communities grant funds may also be used for some projects involving historic buildings other than courthouses or schools. Only properties that have been designated Mississippi Landmarks are eligible for the grants.

Only county or municipal governments, school districts, and nonprofit organizations granted Section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status by the IRS may submit applications. A cash match of at least 20 percent is required, and grant awards are reimbursed upon the successful completion of the project.

The MDAH Board of Trustees will award the grants at a special meeting in December. All grant projects must be completed by December 1, 2014.

To become a Certified Local Government, a community must adopt a preservation ordinance establishing a preservation commission in accordance with federal and state guidelines. Once the commission has been established, 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 CLG program, contact Michelle Jones in the Historic Preservation Division of MDAH, 662-325-2520.

The sixty-two CLG communities in Mississippi are Aberdeen, Amory, Baldwyn, Biloxi, Blue Mountain, Brandon, Canton, Carrollton, Carthage, Centreville, Claiborne County, Clarksdale, Cleveland, Columbia, Columbus, Como, Corinth, Eupora, Friars Point, Gautier, Greenville-Washington County, Greenwood, Grenada, Hattiesburg, Hazlehurst, Hernando, Holly Springs, Indianola, Jackson, Kosciusko, Laurel, Leland, Lexington, Louisville, Magnolia, McComb, Meridian, Moss Point, Mound Bayou, Natchez, Newton, Ocean Springs, Osyka, Oxford, Pascagoula, Philadelphia, Port Gibson, Raymond, Ripley, Sardis, Sharkey County, Starkville, Summit, Tunica, Tupelo, Vaiden, Vicksburg, West, West Point, Winona, Woodville, Yazoo City.

The Mississippi Landmark designation is the highest form of recognition bestowed on properties by the State of Mississippi and offers the fullest protection against changes that might alter a property’s historic character. Properties that are determined to be historically or architecturally significant may be considered for designation. To learn more about the Mississippi Landmark program, contact Swayze Neyland in the Historic Preservation Division of MDAH, 601-576-6912.

Grant applications may be downloaded from the MDAH website. Completed applications are due by 5 p.m. on October 7, 2011. For more information contact Mingo Tingle, MDAH Historic Preservation Division, at 601-576-6952 or mtingle@mdah.state.ms.us.