Certified Local Government Program

The Certified Local Government (CLG) Program is a nationwide initiative providing technical assistance and small grants to local governments seeking to preserve the important and significant aspects of their heritage.

How can West Virginia communities achieve sustainable development for their businesses, create a positive impression for their visitors, and enhance the quality of life for their residents? Many local governments find their fundamental resources in reaching these goals in the history and character of the town. Civic pride and citizen involvement will be found in any community protecting and appreciating its historic resources.

Established by local ordinance or order of the county commission, historic landmark commissions give local residents and officials authority to act upon the community’s preservation concerns. The commissions are best able to understand the unique factors threatening the town’s character and potential with unplanned development or neglect.

Recognizing the essential importance of preservation at the local level, the federal government amended the National Historic Preservation Act in 1980 to include the Certified Local Government (CLG) program. The design of this new program is to give national recognition to local preservation commissions and empower communities in their preservation efforts. The amended act charges each state historic preservation office to administer the CLG program and reserve 10% of federal allocations for grants available to participating local governments. Completed grants funded a variety of preservation activities, including architectural and archaeological surveys, National Register nominations, educational brochures, walking tours, guidelines for design review and feasibility studies of historic structures.

The CLG program assists in encouraging historic preservation by making it a part of local government. Bringing professional expertise, a comprehensive outlook and the potential to award grant dollars for qualifying projects into the partnership are the state offices. CLGs are the only eligible applicant for this pool of grant funding, and it is a major incentive of the CLG Program. In turn, the local government offers a more valuable asset in getting things done with time, energy and knowledge. Often the local planning office staff are involved and local land-use policies begin to reflect the importance of preserving the indispensable and significant aspects of their communities. The CLG Program fosters a unifying link between local, state and federal preservation organizations creating not only a viable network but a genuine partnership.

Provided to all local governments expressing interest in the CLG program is our handbook giving a thorough documentation of the application process. It includes an explanation of the application’s requirements, the application form, and federal and state regulations regarding certification of local governments.

A CLG is an integration of local governments and historic preservation. A local government can participate directly in this program when it is certified by the SHPO as having a historic preservation / landmarks commission, and meets standards set forth in West Virginia Code 8-26A and by the National Historic Preservation Amendments Act of 1980. This federal law defines a CLG as any city, town, county or parish that meets five basic criteria. A CLG enforces appropriate state and local legislation for the designation and protection of historic properties. A CLG established an adequate and qualified historic preservation review commission by state and local legislation. It must maintain a survey and inventory system for historic properties within its jurisdiction. A CLG provides for adequate public participation in local historic preservation programs including the process of nominating properties to the National Register of Historic Places. A CLG must also satisfactorily perform the responsibilities delegated to it under this law.

To request further information or a CLG application, write to WV SHPO, Division of Culture & History, The Cultural Center, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, WV 25305-0300; or contact Meredith.C.Dreistadt@wv.gov., at 304-558-0240 extension 138.

Thanks to the National Park Service and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers for use of information provided in their publication “Preserving Your Community’s Heritage through the Certified Local Government Program.” A copy of this brochure can be obtained from the WV SHPO or the National Park Service Heritage Preservation Services at 202/343-6005.

For more information about the Certified local Government Program and how communities can support historic preservation efforts, visit the following National Park Service web site:



To see a list of Certified Local Governments, visit here.

For a list of historic landmark commissions without certified local government status, see document here.

Historic Landmarks Commission Minutes – All minutes are provided at the discretion of Historic Landmarks Commissions in West Virginia that wish to make their minutes more easily accessible to the public. The inclusion of an HLC’s minutes in this folder is not required. These meeting minutes are not the property or product of the WVSHPO and do not represent the views or actions of the office.

Click here to download the annual report form for Historic Landmark Commissions/Certified Local Governments.