Broadly speaking, a CLG is a local unit of government (county, city, township, or village) that makes a commitment to historic preservation at the local level. CLGs formally demonstrate this commitment by engaging in a partnership with SHPO to carry out preservation activities and plan for significant historic resources as viable community assets. A community that wishes to become a CLG follows a certification process through which it works with SHPO to outline a preservation program that will allow it to be successful in its efforts. Once certified as a CLG, a community gains special access to technical assistance, funding opportunities, and other benefits.
A contact list for current CLGs is available here.
Any local unit of government in Michigan--a county, township, city, or village--may apply to become a CLG if they meet the program requirements. Participation is open to local governments of any size.
CLG status is a point of pride, ensuring the community’s participation in the national historic preservation program and demonstrating that it is committed to preservation as part of its community development activities. The CLG program also provides a platform for strong local preservation programs and provides participating communities with access to exclusive benefits and tools from SHPO:
Additional details on current benefits offered to CLG communities are available here.
At a basic level, all communities across the country that wish to participate in the CLG program must agree to meet 5 simple but structured requirements established by the National Park Service, which provide a foundation for successful local preservation activities:
It is important to note that Michigan’s CLG program recognizes that communities across the state vary widely in their size, capacity, and resources; not all communities have the ability to hire full-time professional staff with a background in preservation; and preservation tools and activities will look different across the state. As such, SHPO has placed a priority on developing a program that is both grounded in a consistent framework of support and as flexible as possible to allow communities of different capabilities, capacities, and resources to participate in the program if they have an interest and are willing to make a commitment to preservation.
While CLGs are required to meet the minimum standards developed by the National Park Service, each community is given the power to outline how it will meet the requirements in a way that is both meaningful and achievable for the local community.
Communities may apply to become a CLG at any time. Applications are accepted year-round and are reviewed on a continual basis. SHPO oversees the application process and works with the applicant to verify that it has met (or will meet) all program requirements before providing a recommendation for the community’s certification to the National Park Service.
CLG certification follows an easy 6-step process through which SHPO works with the applicant to outline a preservation program that will help the community be successful in its efforts. The process is designed to help a community achieve certification in a timely manner, so long as it has satisfactorily demonstrated its ability to meet program requirements.
There are no specific application deadlines. Communities may apply to become a CLG at any time. Applications are accepted year-round and are reviewed on a continual basis.
The length of the certification process depends on several factors, including how many rounds of review are required and the applicant’s timeliness with supplemental submissions and documents such as the signed Certification Agreement.
In general, certification typically takes 3-4 months from the date of the initial application’s submission. However, the process may proceed may take longer if multiple rounds of review are required or materials are not returned in a timely manner.
SHPO is available to guide applicants through the certification process and provide preliminary feedback on required application materials to facilitate the process. Communities are encouraged to contact SHPO early in the process for initial guidance.
Yes! SHPO's CLG Coordinator is available to work with local communities to build support for starting the certification process and to ensure understanding of program requirements and benefits. If you are interested in discussing the program, contact SHPO's CLG Coordinator.
In Michigan, Public Act 169 of 1970 (PA 169), as amended (Michigan's Local Historic Districts Act), is the state-enabling legislation that provides for the establishment of local historic district ordinances and historic district commissions. Communities wishing to become a CLG must follow the processes outlined in PA 169 for establishing an ordinance and commission. For more information, see SHPO's guidance on local historic districts.
It is expected that local units of government entering the CLG program will uphold the program standards by continuing to meet National Park Service requirements; maintaining a committment to historic preservation at the local level; and engaging in a partnership with SHPO. This includes coordinating with SHPO for actions such as changes to the district ordinance, developing preservation plans and design guidelines, and undertaking surveys of historic resources. CLGs also submit a brief annual report of preservation activities each year and participate in an in-person evaluation every four years.
Once certified, a community remains in the CLG program unless the local government voluntarily withdraws from the program or SHPO decertifies the community for persistent failure to meet CLG program requirements. SHPO is responsible for ensuring that communities participating in the CLG program satisfactorily meet NPS requirements. If through the course of ongoing discussions and program evaluations SHPO determines that a CLG has routinely failed to make an earnest attempt to meet these requirements, SHPO may, at its discretion, initiate a decertification process.
Annual grant rounds for CLGs typically open in July, with applications due in October. For additional information on the CLG grants and current funding rounds, see SHPO's CLG grant program page.