Thursday, July 26, 2007

City of Benicia Reaches State Historic Status

City of Benicia Reaches State Historic Status
By SARA STROUD/Times-Herald correspondent
Vallejo Times Herald

Seventeen years after Benicia adopted a plan to preserve its historic buildings, the city's being acknowledged by the state of California for its efforts.

On Aug. 3, the state will officially recognize Benicia as a Certified Local Government - a distinction shared by only 53 other communities in California, state officials said.

Benicia's certified status means it uses the same standards as the state and federal governments to identify and manage its historical resources, Lucinda Woodward, a state historian said. Some of the standards include having a preservation review commission, surveying systems and a mechanism for public involvement.

"It's an affirmation of what we've been doing," Benicia Community Development Director Charlie Knox said.

The certification gives local preservation programs "a sense of credibility," Woodward said. "It has a certain cachet."

Certified local governments are also eligible to apply for state grants to fund preservation programs. This year's grants have already been awarded, but Benicia will be able to apply next year, Woodward said.

"Every little bit helps," Knox said.

Benicia's certification coincides with the Historic Preservation Commission review of the city's historic structure inventory, its first in 15 years, Knox said.

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