Historic preservation efforts receive a boost in Coldwater thanks to this new certification

What’s happening: The City of Coldwater has long taken its historic preservation duties seriously, with five Historic Districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places and the award-winning restoration of the Tibbits Opera House among its historic-minded accomplishments. Now the county seat of Branch County is all the more likely to secure resources and support in their historic preservation efforts, this thanks to the recent announcement that Coldwater has been accepted to the Certified Local Government program.

What it is: The Certified Local Government (CLG) program is administered by the National Park Service in coordination with state and local governments – in Michigan’s case, it’s the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) running the show. Coldwater has become the 42nd Michigan community to be confirmed as a CLG, a program that requires communities to satisfy a list of requirements that include having a local historic district ordinance and historic district commission among its conditions for eligibility. The program comes at no extra costs to those participating in it.

What it does: Becoming a CLG opens new doors for communities seeking to bolster their historic preservation efforts. Benefits include eligibility for specialized technical assistance and programming from the SHPO, eligibility for specialized federal grants from the U.S. Department of the Interior, and more.

Why Coldwater: American settlers first began platting the village in 1831, though a trading post was first established in what would become Coldwater along the Chicago Road in 1822. The city has five historic districts listed on the National Register, which include the Downtown Coldwater Local Historic District, East Chicago Street Historic District, Marshall Street Historic District, South Monroe Street Historic District, and West Peral Street Historic District; as well as seven individual buildings listed. The restoration of the Tibbits Opera House, built in 1882, won a Governor’s Award for Historic Preservation in 2013.

And why it’s important:“As a Main Street Select Level community, the CLG program will equip us with the tools to enhance the character of the downtown and the adjacent historic districts, and provide our building and business owners with critical resources,” says Audrey Tappenden, Director of the Branch County Economic Growth Alliance and Coldwater Main Street.

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