Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

The city of Las Cruces is aiming for CLG certification to gain access to additional funds for monument preservation

Las Cruces is aiming to join the Certified Local Government Program, which will allow the city to apply for additional grants for monument conservation projects.

The city of Las Cruces is taking steps to join the national Certified Local Government Program, which will allow the city to expand its current conservation efforts. Troy Ainsworth, the city’s heritage specialist, says the city’s certification requires both state and federal approval.

“What a CLG is is a city conservationist political entity, and its program has been certified by the state and the Home Office,” said Ainsworth. “It dates back to 1966 with the introduction of the National Historic Preservation Act itself, which broadened federal involvement in state-wide conservation activity.”

If Las Cruces is certified, it will be the tenth local government in New Mexico to participate in the program, joining cities like Albuquerque, Deming and Santa Fe.

A major advantage of the program is access to special grants, the so-called CLG grants, which are only available to program participants. Ainsworth said over $ 88,000 in grants were made available to participants in the New Mexico program in 2020.

“These funds are for certified local government only,” said Ainsworth. “So if you’re a scholarship writer, it means that on a CLG scholarship, it’s only limited to the nine or maybe ten CLGs across the country, rather than having an almost unlimited pool of applicants.”

Councilor Gabe Vasquez endorsed the program, indicating that he would like the city to develop a system of fair decision-making that takes into account the community’s contribution to conservation projects.

“I fully support that. I don’t see why we shouldn’t do this. It’s another way for us to get funding for historical conservation programs, ”said Vasquez. “Often times we have different projects that we pick and ask for support for, but it would be great to also solicit input from the community before those projects are even put on a list to choose from. I think that’s an important part of this process that is moving forward. “

Ainsworth outlined how the city could handle project prioritization and stressed that the city should review needs annually.

“It would be easy to compile a list of eligible projects,” said Ainsworth. “It can be brick and mortar. Think of city-owned buildings like the Rio Grande Theater … the whole purpose would be outreach, bricks and mortar, education, and in my opinion it would be crucial to have a pool of suggestions every year. “

Additional program benefits include training for local technical assistance from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division and the opportunity to participate in the nomination process for proposed properties for the National Register of Historic Places within the city’s jurisdiction.

Program requirements include establishing a qualified commission to review historic properties, enforcing laws that identify and protect historic properties, public participation, and maintaining a system of inventory and measurement of historic properties – all requirements that the city of Las Cruces currently meets .

Upon acceptance into the program, the City of Las Cruces must also prepare an annual report for submission to the State of New Mexico.

Ainsworth said city officials will quickly put together the application package and provide Mayor Ken Miyagishima with the necessary documents for his approval.

“For the next steps, community development staff and the Historic Preservation Commission will continue the ongoing conservation efforts,” said Ainsworth. “The staff are ready to write a letter in support of the application. Finally, employees are ready to take responsibility for maintaining their CLG status in the state of New Mexico. “

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