Certification provides state and federal technical assistance, eligibility for historic preservation grants
LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) announced today that the city of Muskegon in Muskegon County has been accepted to the Certified Local Government (CLG) program, following confirmation from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior.
“We are pleased to recognize the ongoing work of the city of Muskegon and the Historic District Commission (HDC) to plan for, protect, and celebrate important historic places in the community,” said Deputy State Historic Preservation Officer Martha MacFarlane-Faes. “Attainment of CLG status reflects the city’s commitment to preservation as part of its community planning and development activities, and we welcome the city of Muskegon as Michigan’s 40th CLG community.”
The Certified Local Government program is a partnership among local, state, and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the local level. The National Park Service administers the program in coordination with the State Historic Preservation Office. Certification makes the city of Muskegon eligible for specialized technical assistance and programming from the SHPO.
Participation in the CLG program also makes the community eligible for federal grants provided by the U.S. Department of the Interior and administered by the SHPO. These grants may be used for a variety of preservation activities, such as historic resource surveys, National Register of Historic Places nominations, educational and heritage tourism initiatives, pre-development plans and studies, and rehabilitation of certain historic properties.
“The city of Muskegon and its Historic District Commission are honored and excited to join the Certified Local Government program. The support offered by SHPO and the National Park Service is greatly appreciated, and we look forward to strengthening that partnership,” said Jamie Pesch, city planner and HDC staff liaison, and Steven Radtke, HDC chairperson, in a joint statement. “Having recently celebrated the city’s sesquicentennial, Muskegon’s status as a CLG comes at a time when our community’s rich history is at the forefront. Further documentation through updating of historic resource surveys will allow us to highlight the people and places of the past that shaped the community we enjoy today. As the city continues to change and grow, promotion of Muskegon’s many historic assets along with greater education on the value of historic preservation offer a solid foundation on which to build our future.”
The City of Muskegon Historic District Commission was established in 1973, and the Muskegon Historic Preservation Survey was completed later that same year, providing the groundwork for the city’s first local historic districts. Today, the city has nine local historic districts encompassing a broad range of resources that tell the story of Muskegon’s growth and development during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The city also has twelve properties listed in the National Register of Historic Places, including, for example, the Muskegon Historic District, the Charles H. Hackley House, the Muskegon South Breakwater and Pierhead Lights, and the USS Silversides, a World War II-era submarine that is also a National Historic Landmark.
“This designation is important to us,” said state Rep. Terry Sabo (D-Muskegon). “Historic preservation is a part of who we are as a community as we remember our past, but build towards the future.”
Muskegon joins a growing network of more than 2,000 Certified Local Governments across the country, including 39 other Michigan communities. There is no cost to participate in the program, but communities must meet certain requirements. Participating communities must have a local historic district ordinance and appoint a historic district commission to review proposed work in locally designated historic districts. CLGs must also encourage public participation in the local historic preservation program and seek ways to identify, protect, and celebrate important historic resources in their community.
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