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What it Means to Be a Certified Local Government


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 State 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 State 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 State 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 State 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 State 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 State 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 State 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 State Historic Preservation Office.

  5. After the State 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 State 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 State 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 State Historic Preservation Office.

Monitoring and Evaluation

To maintain a high quality Certified Local Government program in Ohio, the State 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 State Historic Preservation Office finds an issue that needs improvement, then such improvements are suggested.


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 State Historic Preservation Office. The State 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.