About Certified Local Governments

Whether it is preserving a vintage downtown or converting an old warehouse into the headquarters of a new business, experience has shown that historic preservation is usually most successful when local people work at the local level to protect and reuse local historic resources. The Certified Local Governments program recognizes that local efforts need support, and that communities can benefit from working with state and federal partners who share the same goal. It is this spirit of partnership which gave rise to Ohio's Certified Local Governments program in 1985. Often called "CLG" for short, the program is a federal-state-local partnership that enables eligible communities to conduct a wide range of preservation activities in cooperation with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. Department of the Interior, including surveys of historic resources and nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places.

Becoming a Certified Local Government entitles your community to apply for Certified Local Government matching grants. Ten percent of the historic preservation funds that Ohio receives from the federal government each year is set aside for these grants; in a typical year about $98,000 is available to Certified Local Governments in Ohio to identify their historic, architectural, and archaeological resources through surveys, nominate eligible properties and districts to the National Register of Historic Places, further community education on historic preservation; and preserve and rehabilitate historic properties. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office encourages communities to apply for certification and grants.

Program Requirements In order to become a Certified Local Government, a political jurisdiction must have the following:  

  • a qualified commission of at least five members who designate historic properties and review proposed changes to the historic environment.
  • an ordinance designed to protect historic resources and offer guidance to those wishing to make changes to historic buildings, sites, and districts.
  • a procedure for identifying historic properties by which they can be surveyed and recorded, designated locally, and nominated to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • a public participation program which invites and encourages citizens to participate in the community's historic preservation program.  

How to Become a Certified Local Government

Cities and villages as well as other political jurisdictions in Ohio that can enact historic preservation ordinances are invited to apply for certification if they meet the above program requirements. The chief elected official should identify a contact person to take the lead in ensuring that a community's Certified Local Government program is coordinated.

This person will request the following materials before applying:

Ohio's Certified Local Government Guidelines spell out the responsibilities of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and Certified Local Governments. These guidelines approved by the National Park Service in 1985 form the basis for all program activities.

Certified Local Government Checklist outlines in detail the items required for certification. The checklist restates the requirements outlined in the Certified Local Government Guidelines in a way that enables the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the National Park Service to quickly review information provided by your community.

The Certified Local Government Certification Application is to be completed by prospective Certified Local Governments, then evaluated by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. This application requests a number of additional items, such as resumes of your preservation commission members, copies of your local historic preservation legislation, and the completed Certified Local Government Checklist. We gladly advise communities on Certified Local Government program requirements, and invite you to write or call.

Steps to Certification

The Certified Local Government certification process takes place in seven steps:

  1. Request information about the Certified Local Governments program from the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, including the Guidelines, Checklist, and Certification Application.
  2. Complete the Checklist to the best of your ability and return it to the Ohio Historic Preservation Office for a reading on how close your community is to having met the certification requirements.
  3. Apply for certification, providing the required materials. Your Certified Local Government application is reviewed by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.
  4. Provide any additional materials requested, including an agreement signed by your community's chief elected official outlining responsibilities and requirements of the Certified Local Government and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.
  5. After the Ohio Historic Preservation Office reviews the Certified Local Government application, and finds it adequate, our office makes a recommendation for approval to the National Park Service.
  6. The National Park Service reviews the application, and then approves or requests additional information.
  7. Community is certified after National Park Service approval of our request.

The Certification Partnership

Communities work closely with the Ohio Historic Preservation Office after they become Certified Local Governments, receiving materials and guidance on an ongoing basis or on special request. certified communities may apply for Certified Local Government Grants to work on a wide range of preservation projects under guidance of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office, including surveys to identify the community's historic and archaeological resources; research and preparation of forms nominating local buildings, sites, structures, objects or historic districts to the National Register of Historic Places or local registers of historic properties; development and production of design guidelines, planning materials, and historic preservation workshops. Certified Local Governments are invited to regular and special functions of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.

Monitoring and Evaluation

To maintain a high quality Certified Local Government program in Ohio, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office monitors the local historic preservation program with an eye toward assisting certified communities. Communities are usually evaluated after the first year of the program, and every four years thereafter, the idea being to help the community meet the standards and expectations of the program. If the Ohio Historic Preservation Office finds an issue that needs improvement, then such improvements are suggested.

Decertification

The Certified Local Government program is voluntary, and any community can terminate its program after a written request to do so is received by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office. The Ohio Historic Preservation Office, too, may request decertification of communities who do not meet program standards, but does not envision this happening because communities are offered guidance and every reasonable opportunity to correct deficiencies.

To request more information about the Certified Local Government Program, click here or call 614/298-2000.