Three NH municipalities earn Certified Local Government designation
The N.H. Division of Historical Resources has announced that Bedford, Manchester and Mont Vernon have been named Certified Local Governments.
The CLG program in New Hampshire promotes the preservation of prehistoric and historic sites, structures, objects, buildings and districts by establishing a partnership between local governments and the NHDHR.
Bedford, Manchester and Mont Vernon all have their own locally designated historic districts that are overseen by either a historic district commission or a heritage commission – a requirement of the CLG program. In addition to being stewards of their local history, these commissions also serve as advisory bodies to their municipal governments and land use boards.
Individually, the three communities can be categorized as suburban, rural and urban; each embraces its specific historic character, with buildings, structures and landscapes dating from the early eighteenth through the mid-twentieth centuries. Their defining characteristics help preserve New Hampshire’s history while remaining integral parts of their communities and are still in use, often for their original purpose.
Being named a CLG enables a municipality to apply for grants that can be used to fund community preservation activities such as historic survey and inventory of buildings and archaeological sites, nominations to the National Register of Historic Places, preservation planning, heritage education, historic structures reports and other pre-development work, and, in some cases, brick and mortar projects.
Other benefits of the program include technical assistance from the NHDHR on local planning issues, special training opportunities and a role in commenting on nominations to the National Register of Historic Places.
“As a community with a long track record of pursuing historic preservation efforts even in the face of significant growth, Bedford is pleased to become a Certified Local Government,” said Jillian Harris, assistant planning director for the Town of Bedford. “The Town has long sought to preserve its historic character and to work with the residents and business owners to forge innovative solutions when presented with challenges related to preservation.”
“Manchester is home to a vast collection of historic resources, so it’s important to promote, protect and educate the community about our rich and diverse heritage as the city continues to adapt to growth and change,” said Jonathan Golden, City of Manchester senior planner. “The CLG designation will add important resources to the city through its Heritage Commission, helping to achieve these goals.”
Rebecca Schwarz, chair of the Mont Vernon Heritage Commission noted, “Mont Vernon is very excited to take part in the Certified Local Government Program for assistance with our Historic Resource Survey and to be able to access preservation grant funds for our current restoration and rehabilitation project of saving our 1781 Town Hall building so that it may continue its lifetime of service at the heart of our community.”
Created by the 1980 amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act, the Certified Local Government program requires the NHDHR to designate at least 10 percent of its annual federal Historic Preservation Funds to support municipalities that have become CLGs.
New Hampshire's Division of Historical Resources, the State Historic Preservation Office, was established in 1974 and is part of the N.H. Department of Natural and Cultural Resources. NHDHR’s mission is to preserve and celebrate New Hampshire’s irreplaceable historic resources through programs and services that provide education, stewardship, and protection. For more information, visit us online at nh.gov/nhdhr or by calling 603-271-3483.