Preservation Planning and Development

The MDAH Historic Preservation staff empowers entire communities to tell their own stories through programming that makes it possible to preserve historic places. Here, we outline the resources we have to offer builders, developers, architects, archaeologists, researchers, consultants, and federally recognized Tribes. MDAH Historic Preservation staff members are professionals with expertise in history, archaeology, architectural history, and technical preservation.

We provide technical assistance and grants for preservation projects and maintain an extensive database of the state’s archaeological sites and historic resources.

In addition, we manage federal project (Section 106) reviews, the Mississippi Landmark program, the federal and state Rehabilitation Tax Credit programs, the Certified Local Government program, the National Register of Historic Places nominations, the State Historical Marker program, and the Abandoned Cemeteries program.

Let us help you renew the life and purpose of your community’s historic buildings. MDAH offers a variety of preservation tools including how to become a Certified Local Government (CLG), apply for grants, and take advantage of state and federal tax credits.

Become a Certified Local Government

The Certified Local Government Program is a federal-state-local partnership established in 1980 by amendments to the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966. The CLG program permits local governments that have established their own historic preservation programs–meeting both federal and state standards–to participate directly in the national historic preservation program and processes.

CLG communities receive special technical assistance and training from MDAH staff, including:

  • programs to heighten local preservation awareness,
  • assistance with drafting preservation ordinances,
  • training workshops for the local preservation commission,
  • and assistance in
    • establishing local historic districts,
    • identifying architecturally and historically significant buildings and sites,
    • preparing National Register nominations,
    • compiling design review guidelines for historic districts, and
    • many other kinds of projects to promote preservation of the community’s historic resources.

A CLG preservation commission is also consulted in matters regarding the National Register of Historic Places and federal projects that affect local historic properties.

CLG Frequently Asked Questions

What communities have Certified Local Government designation?

There are currently fifty-four Certified Local Governments in Mississippi.

Aberdeen, Baldwyn, Bay Saint Louis, Biloxi, Booneville, Brandon, Canton, Carrollton, Carthage, Claiborne County, Clarksdale, Cleveland, Clinton, Columbia, Columbus, Como, Corinth, Durant, Gautier, Greenville, Greenwood, Hattiesburg, Hazlehurst, Hernando, Holly Springs, Indianola, Jackson, Kosciusko, Laurel, Leland, Lexington, Louisville, McComb, Meridian, Mound Bayou, Mount Olive, Natchez, New Albany, Ocean Springs, Oxford, Pascagoula, Philadelphia, Port Gibson, Quitman, Raymond, Senatobia, Sharkey County, Starkville, Tunica, Tupelo, Vicksburg, Water Valley, West, West Point, Woodville, Yazoo City.

What is the Certified Local Government (CLG) program?

The Certified Local Government (CLG) program extends the federal (National Park Service) and state (Mississippi Department of Archives and History) partnership to the local level. Any city, town, or county that has enacted a historic preservation ordinance, enforces that ordinance through a local historic preservation commission, and has met the requirements outlined in the Mississippi Certified Local Government Guidelines is eligible to become a CLG.

What are the benefits of becoming a CLG?

The benefits of becoming a CLG include:

  • improved communication and coordination with, local, state, and federal preservation activities;
  • opportunities for technical assistance and educational opportunities about historic preservation;
  • assistance to the CLG in developing a preservation plan;
  • the opportunity to review local nominations for the National Register of Historic Places prior to consideration by the Mississippi Professional National Register Review Board;
  • eligibility for CLG grant funds;
  • ability for organizations in CLG communities in good standing to apply for Community Heritage Preservation Grants for properties other than courthouses and schools.
What are the responsibilities of a CLG?

The local city, town, county, or county-municipality (through a Memorandum of Understanding) must do the following:

  • enact an ordinance which establishes a historic preservation commission and which includes designation provisions for the identification and registration of historic property and the protection of such property;
  • enforce the preservation ordinance;
  • appoint and maintain a qualified historic preservation commission which meets at least quarterly;
  • abide by the provisions of the certification agreement including keeping MDAH informed of preservation activities through submission of minutes, annual reports, and other communication;
  • maintain a system for the survey and inventory of historic properties in the local area;
  • provide for adequate public participation in the local historic preservation program;
  • recommend properties for nomination to the National Register of Historic Places;
  • review National Register of Historic Places nominations that involve properties within the local government’s jurisdiction;
  • adhere to all federal requirements for CLG Program;
  • if awarded preservation funding, abide by the grant agreement;
We’re already a Main Street community. Do we need to become a CLG, too?

The Mississippi Main Street program emphasizes good local organization, promotion, design, and economic development and has been adapted to meet the needs of many Mississippi towns. The CLG program serves communities of all sizes to help integrate historic preservation and the local government, to help thread historic preservation into local land-use policy. Many communities have successfully integrated preservation planning and Main Street programs.

If we want to have an historic preservation commission / district, do we have to apply for CLG designation?

While most communities in Mississippi with a Historic Preservation Commission are designated as CLGs, it is optional. Communities with preservation commissions and districts who are not CLGs receive very limited assistance from MDAH to further their preservation efforts.

Is there a population requirement for participation in the CLG program?

No, participation is open to local governments of any size.

Can someone come to my community to talk to my local elected officials about the CLG program?

Yes. Contact to discuss scheduling a staff visit or presentation.

Is there an opportunity for our historic preservation commission (HPC) to get training?

Yes! The Historic Preservation Division provides training at little to minimal cost several times a year. There are four regional training sessions across the state every year. Regional trainings cover a broad range of topics and allow for discussion with MDAH staff and representatives of other CLGs. In late spring, MDAH holds its Preservation Boot Camp, a two-day intensive workshop where participants learn about the history and benefits of historic preservation, architectural history, and the resources available from MDAH. 

We’re already certified; how do we apply for grants?

Grant applications are automatically sent by the CLG Grants Administrator to the CLG contact within each local government. If the local government has a long term commitment to historic preservation, the CLG program can be useful tool to assist the community in achieving its goals. The average CLG Grant award is around $5,000 and rarely surpasses $10,000, making it less suited to major capital projects. CLG communities do have access to Community Heritage Preservation Grants, which are administered separately.

For more information about CLG grants, please contact Inquiries about CHPG grants can be made to


Tax Incentives for Historic Properties

Tax Incentives for Historic Properties

Substantial federal and state tax incentives are available for the rehabilitation of qualifying buildings in Mississippi. Federal and state tax incentives programs encourage private sector investment in the rehabilitation and re-use of historic buildings, which creates jobs and revitalizes communities. Projects may be eligible for both state and federal tax credits.  

The federal government offers a 20% credit for the rehabilitation of historic structures used for income-producing purposes. The State of Mississippi offers a 25% credit for the rehabilitation of historic structures used for income-producing purposes or as owner-occupied dwellings. Properties qualifying for the 20% federal preservation tax credit may also qualify for the state tax credit. 

Please be advised that, as of August 15, 2023, all historic preservation certification applications must be submitted electronically. This includes both new applications submitted to MDAH and materials submitted to the NPS in response to requests for more information. If you would like to know more about the transition to electronic submission of HTC applications, please visit the NPS Tax Incentives website.

Tax Credit Basics

The amount of credit available under the federal program equals 20% of the qualifying expenses of the rehabilitation. In addition, the state program equals 25% of qualified rehabilitation expenses.  

  • The federal tax credit is only available to properties that will be used for a business or other income–producing purpose, and a "substantial" amount must be spent rehabilitating the historic building. 
  • The building must be certified as a historic structure. 
  • Rehabilitation work has to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation

Am I Eligible?

These four factors can help you decide whether your rehabilitation project would meet the basic requirements for the 20% federal tax credit and/or the 25% state tax credit. The eligibility requirements for the state and federal tax credits are similar, but not identical. 

The building must be a certified historic structure. 
The historic building must be listed in the National Register of Historic Places or be certified as contributing to the significance of a National Register historic district. 

Buildings may be listed individually in the National Register of Historic Places or as a part of a historic district. To determine if their property is listed on the National Register, search our Historic Resources Inventory Database, the collected National Register listings for the state, or contact the Historic Preservation Division at or 601-576-6940.

Owners of historic buildings not listed either individually or as part of a historic district may use the Historic Preservation Certification Application, Part 1 to request a preliminary determination of significance. If the National Park Service (NPS) determines the property meets National Register criteria, the owner may proceed with the rehabilitation project while the nomination process is underway. 

If your property is located in a National Register district or a certified state or local district, it still must be designated as a structure that retains historic integrity and contributes to the historic character of the district, thus qualifying as a "certified historic structure."  

You can request designation of your building a "certified historic structure" by completing and submitting Part 1 of the Historic Preservation Certification Application.  

To learn more about the federal application process, visit the NPS Historic Preservation Tax Incentives website.

The rehabilitation must be substantial.
The project must meet the "substantial rehabilitation test." 

In brief, this means that the cost of rehabilitation must exceed the pre-rehabilitation cost of the building, minus the cost of the land, or, in the case of the state tax credit, half of the cost of the building without the land. Generally, this test must be met within two years or within five years for a project completed in multiple phases. 

The cost of a project must exceed the greater of $5,000 or the building’s adjusted basis. To qualify for the state tax credit, the cost of the project must exceed the greater of $5,000 or half of the building’s adjusted basis. The following formula will help you determine if your project will be substantial: 

A - B - C + D = adjusted basis 

A = purchase price of the property (building and land) 

B = the cost of the land at the time of purchase 

C = depreciation taken for an income-producing property 

D = cost of any capital improvements made since purchase 

For example, Mr. Jones has owned a small Victorian rental cottage for a number of years. He originally purchased the property for $150,000 and, of that purchase price, $70,000 was attributed to the cost of the land. Over the past years, he has depreciated the building for tax purposes by a total of $41,000. He recently replaced the air conditioning system at a cost of $1,500. Therefore, Mr. Jones’s adjusted basis is $40,500 (or 150,000 - 70,000 - 41,000 + 1,500). 

Mr. Jones intends to spend $50,000 to install a new roof, repair rotten siding, upgrade the wiring, and rebuild the severely deteriorated front porch, which will qualify as a substantial rehabilitation project. If he completes the application process and receives certification from the National Park Service that the rehabilitation meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, then Mr. Jones will be eligible for a 20% federal credit on the cost of his rehabilitation, or a $10,000 credit and a 25%, or $12,500, state credit.  

If Mr. Jones spends between $20,251 and $40,499, greater than half of the adjusted basis of the building, on the rehabilitation, he would qualify for the 25% state tax credit if he completes the application process and receives certification from MDAH that the rehabilitation meets the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. 

Some expenses associated with a project may not qualify for the tax credit, such as a new rear addition, new kitchen appliances, and landscaping. 

The rehabilitation must be certified.

The rehabilitation work must be done according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Rehabilitation. 

A certified rehabilitation is a rehabilitation of a certified historic structure that is approved by NPS as meeting the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation. The Standards are commonsense principles in non-technical language about maintaining, repairing and replacing historic materials, as well as designing new additions or making alterations. 

Part 2, Description of Rehabilitation, of the tax credit application must be approved by the National Park Service when applying for federal and state credits. Applicants are advised to obtain Part 2 approval prior to beginning work.

The building must be income producing. 
After rehabilitation, the historic building must be used for an income-producing purpose for at least five years. Owner-occupied residential properties do not qualify for federal tax credits. 

The 20% federal credit is available only to properties rehabilitated for income-producing purposes, including commercial, industrial, agricultural, rental residential or apartment use. In addition, the 25% state credit is available to owner-occupied dwellings.


Application Forms

To qualify for the tax incentives, property owners must complete the appropriate part or parts of the Historic Preservation Certification Application. 

The Statement of Intent should be submitted with the application. When applying for both federal and state credits, the NPS forms should be used for Part 1 and Part 2 of the application. To apply for state credits only, the state application form should be used. 

National Park Service Application and Instructions

National Park Service Electronic Submission Guidelines and Instructions

State of Mississippi Application and Instructions 

State Fee Payment Form 

Statement of Intent

Application Checklist

If you would like to submit a historic tax credit application, or for more information, please email Clay Mapp, Mississippi Landmarks Coordinator, at or call 601-576-6935.

Tips for Having Your Project Approved

  1. If possible, do not begin work until receiving Part 2 approval for the project. If work must begin before that time, make sure to submit your application as early in the process as possible. 
  2. Provide photographs that clearly document interior and exterior conditions before the rehabilitation project begins. Include views of each exterior elevation and all major interior spaces, typical minor spaces, and significant details such as porches, mantelpieces, staircases, etc. Photos must be labeled, printed on photo paper and a photo key indicating where each photo was taken must be provided. 
  3. Describe the project clearly and completely. Provide plans that illustrate the existing conditions and configuration of the building before the project and the proposed alterations. 
  4. Read and follow the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation, as well as the guidance available at the NPS Historic Preservation Tax Incentives website.

Grant Programs

Certified Local Government Grant

In 2019, MDAH awarded more than $75,000 to preservation projects in ten different Certified Local Government Communities. The Certified Local Government Program is a federal-state-local partnership that promotes historic preservation at the grassroots level and helps communities deal with preservation needs.

 The MDAH allocates funds for individual CLGs through a competitive application process. Check back for details about the next round.

CLG communities in compliance with the federal regulations are eligible for annual matching grants to undertake small preservation planning projects of importance to the community. Grants may be used for such diverse projects as the restoration of historic buildings; historical, architectural, or archaeological site inventory work; preparation of nominations to the National Register of Historic Places; educational programs; and staff support for new historic preservation commissions.

For more information contact the CLG Grant Administrator at 601-576-6940 or

Community Heritage Preservation Grant Program

More than $46 million has been awarded to 338 projects through the Community Heritage Preservation Grant program since its inception in 2001. This grant program provides much-needed funds for the restoration of schools, courthouses, and other Mississippi Landmark properties in Certified Local Government communities. While no funding was provided during this legislative session,  the Department of Archives and History is encouraged that the program will receive funding for the next fiscal year. We all recognize the Community Heritage Preservation Grant Program is an important resource for the restoration and preservation of Mississippi Landmark properties in Certified Local Government communities.

A previous application may be downloaded from the following link: CHPG Application. Applications are currently closed. For more information, please contact

Historic Site Preservation Grant Program

In 2021, the Legislature authorized the creation of the Mississippi Historic Site Preservation Grant. The grant provides funds for the protection through acquisition of sites related to Civil War battles, Native American archaeology, and Civil Rights history. These funds allow endangered and significant properties to be preserved.

Applications are now open and will close on September 27, 2024. Please download the application at the following link: HSPG Application. For more information, please contact Hayley Smith at

Mississippi’s historic preservation program is financed in part with federal funds from the National Park Service, U.S. Department of the Interior and matched with state funding.


Be part of history. Volunteer with MDAH and help us preserve and connect Mississippi’s rich historic resources with people around the world.