JEFFERSON - The Village of Jefferson's application to become a Certified Local Government has been approved by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office and the U.S. Department of the Interior's National Park Service, making the village Ohio's 55th Certified Local Government.
The designation recognizes the Village of Jefferson's historic preservation program, strengthening the partnership between it and related state and federal programs that share a common goal of preserving historic places, according to Nathan Bevil, Certified Local Government and preservation services manager for the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society.
"We're delighted that Jefferson has become a Certified Local Government," Bevil says. "Jefferson has a number of properties that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places, including those in the Ashtabula County Courthouse Group historic district as well as some individual landmarks like the Jefferson Town Hall (27 E. Jefferson St.) and the Joshua Giddings Law Office (112 N. Chestnut St.). We look forward to working with the Village of Jefferson to preserve these and other historic places in the community, which can be a real asset in economic development."
The Certified Local Government program is a partnership between local, state and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the grass roots level, according to information provided by Bevil. In Ohio, the program is jointly administered by the National Park Service and the Ohio Historic Preservation Office of the Ohio Historical Society, with each community that seeks to become certified working through a certification process to become recognized as a Certified Local Government, or "CLG" as they are sometimes called for short.
To qualify, a community must enact laws protecting its historic buildings, sites and districts and guiding changes to them; have a qualified commission with at least five members who review proposed changes to the historic environment; have a public process for identifying properties that should be preserved, designating them as historic, and nominating them to the National Register of Historic Places; and have a program encouraging citizens to preserve historic places.
Bevil said one benefit of becoming a Certified Local Government is that Jefferson will become eligible to apply for grants to help fund local preservation efforts. He said Ohio gets an annual allocation from the U.S. Department of the Interior's Historic Preservation Fund, and 10 percent of it is set aside for grants to Certified Local Governments.
According to Bevil, in a typical year about $100,000 is available for use by participating communities. The grants are awarded on a competitive basis. Typical projects include identifying places that should be preserved; nominating eligible ones to the National Register of Historic Places and local registers of historic properties; building local awareness of the benefits of preserving historic places; and undertaking work to preserve and rehabilitate historic properties.