The benefits to local governments from participating in the CLG program are numerous. While CLG grants generally represent a relatively small amount of funds, they have often been used as seed money to attract funding from local government or other sources. Also, in many cases, the products generated by CLG grants have provided credibility to a fledgling local historic preservation program. Beyond being just a source of funds, the CLG program has helped institutionalize historic preservation and give it legitimacy as a function of local government. Since the local government staff working in the Program are often in the local planning office, the CLG program has helped forge critical connections between historic preservation and land use planning. Similarly, the CLG program has led to increased cooperation between local preservationists and the State Historic Preservation Office and resulted in a strengthened statewide preservation network.
Funding for grants to Certified Local Governments comes from the Historic Preservation Fund (HPF), a Federal grants program appropriated by the U.S. Congress and administered by the National Park Service (NPS), which provides financial support to State Preservation Offices (SHPOs). Under the provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act, as amended, SHPOs are required to award at least 10% of their annual HPF monies to CLGs in their State. (Some States have additional State funds for CLGs.)
HPF grants to Certified Local Governments have funded a wide variety of local historic preservation projects. CLG project types that have been funded include the following: architectural, historical, archeological surveys, and oral histories; preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places; research and development of historic context information; staff work for historic preservation commissions, including designation of properties under local landmark ordinances; writing or amending preservation ordinances; preparation of preservation plans publication information and education activities; publication of historic sites inventories; development of publication of walking/driving tours; development of slide/tape shows, videotapes; training for commission members and staff; development of architectural drawings and specifications; preparation of facade studies or condition assessments; rehabilitation or restoration of properties individually listed in the National Register of Historic Places or contributing to a National Register historic district
There are two other factors: all CLG grants must result in a completed, tangible product and/or measurable result; and all must be carried out in accordance with the applicable Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Archeology and Historic Preservation (a copy may be obtained from the SHPO).
The amount of money in a CLG grant must be large enough to have tangible results. Otherwise, there are no specific Federal requirements regarding the amount of money SHPOs make available in individual grants to CLGs. Consequently, the dollar amount of the grant depends primarily on the funding policy set by each SHPO. Some States try to award a grant to each CLG in the State every year. In general, the dollar amount of grants in these States tend to be small, particularly if there are numerous CLGs. On the other hand, other States award relatively few but larger grants.
In most states, CLG grants are matching grants, i.e. recipients must provide a certain amount of cash or in-kind services to be used in carrying out the grant project. Each SHPO determines how much, if any, match is to be required. In most States, a 50/50, or "dollar-for-dollar" match is required. This means that for every dollar received the recipient must provide a matching dollar in services, cash, or volunteer hours, as specified by State policy.
SHPOs makes an annual mailing to each CLG, and each local government whose application for certification is pending, notifying them of the availability of CLG grant funds. Potential CLG applicants are informed of the total amount of funds available. State priorities for funding, criteria to be used in selecting proposals to be funded (see below), a deadline for submitting requests, and a written description of what must be included in applications for CLG grants.
Although application procedures and periods vary from State to State, in general, the SHPO solicits grant proposals from its CLGs in the Fall. Applicants then submit a Grant Application (or Subgrant or Project Proposal), which describes the project and why it is needed, how the project is to be carried out and what its goals are, who will be doing the proposed work and their professional qualifications, a proposed budget and project schedule, and the specific products to be generated by the project. Applications are generally due at the end of the calendar year. Contact your SHPO and the specific deadlines in your State. (Applicants should also determine what local procedures and requirements, if any, must be satisfied prior to submitting a CLG grant application.)
Each SHPO sets its own funding priorities. In some States, greater weight may be given to one type of a project over another. Among the factors typically used to rate grant proposals are compatibility with the broad goals of the SHPO, urgency of the project, significance of the historic properties, geographic distribution of grant funds, education and public awareness potential, and the administrative and financial management capability of the applicant.