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City to apply for certification to boost local historic preservation

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The Las Cruces City Council expressed its support for the city’s application to become the 10th local government in New Mexico to join the National Park Service’s (NPS) Certified Local Government (CLG) Program to encourage local historic preservation efforts and help fund them.

At the city council’s Oct. 11 work session, Mayor Ken Miyagishima said he would support the city’s application for CLG certification, which will be forwarded to the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs’ Historic Preservation Division (HPD) for approval.

Becoming a CLG “makes historic preservation a matter of public policy and is duly recognized by HPD and the U.S. Department of the Interior (DOI), which certifies their qualifications,” said city Historic Preservation Specialist Troy M. Ainsworth, Ph.D.

CLG status “provides benefits to local governments in the form of funding opportunities, technical assistance, and participation in the nomination process for listings in the National Register of Historic Places,” Ainsworth said.

DOI “allocates funding to all states and territories to conduct historic preservation projects,” he said, and each “dedicates 10 percent of its annual allotment specifically to CLG grant opportunities.”

With a successful CLG application, the City of Las Cruces could apply for a portion of those funds. Projects eligible for CLG grants include: bricks-and-mortar restoration projects; heritage tourism programs, including walking tours; and public outreach components, such as webpages, Ainsworth said.

He said the city already meets all the qualifications to become a CLG, including enforcing state statutes and local ordinances for the designation and protection of historic properties, having a city Historic Preservation Commission, maintaining a system to survey and inventory historic properties and providing public participation in local historic preservation efforts.

There are currently 46 National Historic Landmarks (NHL) in New Mexico, but none in Las Cruces, Ainsworth said. There are two NHLs in Doña Ana County: Mesilla Plaza and the V-2 Rocket Launch Site at White Sands Missile Range.

Contact Ainsworth at 575-528-3022 and tainsworth@las-cruces.org.

Visit www.nps.gov/subjects/clg/index.htm, www.nmhistoricpreservation.org and www.las-cruces.org/2218/Preserve-History.