This is an image of an early color postcard showing an electric trolley in what is now Springfield National Historic District, Jacksonville, Florida. Photo, Courtesy, Springfield Preservation & Revitalization Council, Inc.
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Working on the Past in Local Historic Districts

Q. Can you please help me understand the steps I need to take in creating a local historic district?

A. The order of the steps will depend upon whether the local government already has a process in place for creating a local historic district.

  1. Find out if the local government has a system for creating local districts. If it does, go to step 3. If it doesn't, go to step 2.
  2. Ask the State Historic Preservation Office what the State authorizing statutes have to say about establishing local historic preservation programs and local districts. Go to step 3.
  3. Find out the eligibility criteria for becoming a local district and what the benefits/consequences are for being located in a historic district. Go to step 4.
  4. Given the answers to the issues in step 3, find out from community members whether or not they think that this is worth while at least investigating. If you don't have community support, you probably will have difficulty in getting the local political support necessary to move the process along. If you are successful, go to step 5.
  5. Find someone with the requisite expertise to help you determine whether the community meets the eligibility criteria. If it does, go to step 6.
  6. Hold a community meeting or survey community members to get a more formal expression of support to pursue local designation as a local district. If successful, go to step 7.
  7. Approach the local government a) entity responsible for historic preservation at the local level or b) if there is no local historic preservation program, the entity that State law requires to initiate the process for establishing a local program. Go to step 8.
  8. Assist and encourage the local government a) to follow its certification procedures to
    designate the community as a local historic district or b) to take the steps necessary to establish a local historic preservation program and then use that system to designate the community as a local historic district.

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Page content by: John Renaud, State, Tribal, and Local Programs Branch, and Susan Henry Renaud, Preservation Initiatives Branch, Heritage Preservation Services Division, National Center for Cultural Resources, National Park Service.

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