(6-30-20) The Michigan SHPO and National Park Service welcome the city of Niles, Michigan as one of Michigan’s two newest Certified Local Government (CLG) communities.The CLG program is a preservation partnership between local, state and national governments focused on promoting historic preservation at the grass roots level. This national program is jointly administered by the National Park Service (NPS) and the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) in each state.
Niles is located on the St. Joseph River in the southwest part of the state not far from the Indiana border. The community includes two locally designated historic districts. The Historic Fourth Street district runs along North Fourth Street, between Main and Wayne Streets. The Niles Downtown Historic District is a commercial district, along Sycamore, Main and Cedar Streets, between Front and Fifth Streets. Most of the downtown is separately designated in the National Register of Historic Places, along with a number of other individual resources such as the former Michigan Central Railroad station and the Henry A. Chapin House (today home to the Niles History Center and the Fort St Joseph Museum).
According to Lisa Croteau, director of marketing and administration for Niles Main Street, through the CLG certification, Niles will now have potential access to financial and technical assistance for means of historical preservation. CLG grants may go towards a variety of projects within a community including surveys, rehabilitation work, design guidelines, educational programs, structural assessments, feasibility studies and the completion of National Register nominations.
Wendy Halder, chair of the Niles Historic District Commission
“We are really excited to have achieved this designation. We are optimistic that it will provide new opportunities for improving our historic districts so that we can honor our past as our community moves ever forward.”
According to Croteau, there are goals set with the Local Historic District Commission for the next few years. Those plans include resurveying the Historic Fourth Street and Downtown historic districts and investigate feasibility of a new Historic District on St. Joseph Street. Additionally, the city will organize one public historic building workshop to happen in each in the next four years.
To learn more about the CLG program, visit www.michigan.gov/clggrants.