The Certified Local Government Program fosters a commitment to preservation at the local level and is a critical component of preserving and increasing awareness of Iowa’s unique cultural heritage. Active participation in the Certified Local Government Program establishes a robust partnership between local, state, and federal governments to help communities save irreplaceable historic character.

Through the certification process, local governments make a commitment to historic preservation by passing local legislation and establishing a historic preservation commission. The commission advises the local elected officials on matters related to historic preservation and undertakes special projects in the community.

Iowa has one of the largest Certified Local Government Program in the country. Approximately 90 cities and counties in the state are actively participating in the program. Each community can use the program to support their communities preservation needs. Some use Certified Local Government status to support the revitalization and stabilization of historic downtowns and neighborhoods. Other communities work to preserve individual historic buildings. . While other communities develop heritage tourism programs based on historic resources unique to their community.


Active participation in the Certified Local Government Program makes your community eligible for funding, training, technical assistance and provides access to a supportive network of other preservation-minded communities.


Iowa receives an annual appropriation from the United State Department of the Interior, National Park Service through the Historic Preservation Fund. Each year, by law 10% of those federal funds are available only to Certified Local Governments in the form of pass-through grants. In Iowa Certified Local Governments also qualify for Historical Resource Development Program grants.

Training and Technical Assistance

Certified Local Governments are eligible for historic preservation training and technical assistance from the State Historic Preservation Office of Iowa.

Historic Preservation Network

Iowa is proud to have one of the largest Certified Local Government programs in the country. Join more than 90 other communities that embrace historic preservation as an effective tool for revitalizing, preserving and increasing awareness of their unique cultural heritage.

Before You Apply

If your community has an established and effective historic preservation program, applying to participate in the Certified Local Government program can help boost your preservation plans and funding. To be eligible to apply, the local government will need to meet the following requirements.

  • Have a process in place for identifying, evaluating, and recognizing historic properties. This is an essential step in determining what properties should be preserved and providing evidence of the significance.
  • Have an on-going process for managing and protecting historic properties by planning and considering historic preservation in land use, public improvement and development decisions.
  • Have an educational component to ensure citizens, property owners and local officials are knowledgeable about the program. This includes the role of preservation in the community, good preservation practice, and the tools available to facilitate historic preservation at the local level.

To learn more and get started, review the Certified Local Government Program Guide.