The division shall coordinate and direct the State Historical Marker Program, which shall be a program of popular history and heritage designed to inform the general public about persons, events, structures, and other topics relating to the history and culture of the state; encourage interest in preserving the historical resources of the state and its localities; promote a sense of community and place among Florida citizens; and provide for the enjoyment and edification of tourists.
(1) The division shall encourage the initiation of proposals for Official Florida Historical Markers from departments or agencies of the state; units of county, municipal, or other local governments; corporations, partnerships, or other organizations, whether public or private and whether or not for profit; or any individual. Markers may be installed to recognize historic properties, as well as individuals, events, and other topics significant in Florida or American history, architecture, archaeology, or culture.
(2) By means of appropriate variations in marker design, the division shall distinguish the following categories of Official Florida Historical Markers:
(a) Florida Heritage Landmark markers, which shall be used to identify and interpret Heritage Landmark properties.
(b) State Historic Highway markers, which shall be used to identify state historic highways, as provided in general law.
(c) Florida Heritage markers, which shall be used to identify and interpret people, events, and places, including buildings and archaeological sites, which do not meet the criteria for a Florida Heritage Landmark, and other subjects relating to Florida history and culture.
(d) Other special series of markers which the division may establish to facilitate guiding the general public to places of historic interest and to facilitate identification and interpretation of topics of statewide interest, including, but not limited to, historic and scenic trails, byways, and greenways and anniversaries or other occasions of special significance to the history and culture of Florida.
The division may exercise the right of trademark over the terms “Florida Heritage” or “Heritage Florida” pursuant to s. 286.031.
(3) The division shall establish and maintain a central register of all markers installed in each category set out in subsection (2). In addition, the division shall establish and maintain the Florida Register of Heritage Landmarks, a central register of historic properties, which generally shall consist of properties more than 50 years of age deemed worthy of preservation for their exceptional historical significance to the state as a whole or a region of the state and their architectural or archaeological integrity. (a) The division shall adopt rules pursuant to ss. 120.536(1) and 120.54 that prescribe criteria and a process for the identification, evaluation, and designation of Heritage Landmark properties, as well as for withdrawal of designation.
(b) The division may waive the age requirement of 50 years for properties of overwhelming state or national importance; however, it is the intent of the Legislature that exceptions shall rarely be given.
(c) The division shall undertake a program to identify and nominate properties eligible for designation as Heritage Landmarks.
(d) Designation of private property as a Heritage Landmark does not prohibit under Florida law or regulation any actions which may otherwise be taken by the property owner with respect to the property.
(4)(a) The division is authorized and empowered to erect and maintain appropriate signs or markers indicating sites of historic interest and value upon public property as well as upon private property where permission is obtained.
(b) The Department of Transportation or the governing body of each county or municipality is authorized to permit and assist the division in erecting and maintaining said historic signs or markers within the right-of-way of any state highway, county road, or municipal street, or any other property under its jurisdiction and control, under such conditions and limitations as may be appropriate. The division is hereby vested with the exclusive authority and power to erect and maintain said historic signs or markers within the right-of-way of any state highway.
(5) The division shall designate an approved marker as an Official Florida Historical Marker. To ensure a degree of uniformity and quality of historical markers, monuments, plaques, medallions, and similar devices in this state, and to avoid any confusion with or misrepresentation of an Official Florida Historical Marker, no such marker or reasonable facsimile thereof may be fabricated with any emblem, design, or logo signifying another organization. No other emblem, design, or marker size may be used in addition to or instead of those offered by the division for an Official Florida Historical Marker. Emblems, designs, or logos offered by the division are property of the state and may not be used for commercial advertising or copied for the use of any other agency, association, corporation, or individual without the express consent and authorization of the division.
(6) The division may establish a reasonable fee to recover its costs arising from review of a proposal for a historical marker, monument, plaque, medallion, or similar device. Any fee established shall be payable by the applicant for the marker, monument, plaque, medallion, or similar device.
(7) Funds for the creation and placement of an Official Florida Historical Marker shall be provided by the agency, organization, individual, or other entity proposing the marker. The division may erect Official Florida Historical Markers at its own expense and may make competitive grants from the Historical Resources Operating Trust Fund, pursuant to s. 267.0617, to assist in funding the costs of Official Florida Historical Markers. All Official Florida Historical Markers shall be considered property of the state. (8) The division shall seek cooperation from local volunteers throughout the state and, where appropriate, shall encourage the establishment of citizen support organizations, pursuant to s. 267.17, to assist in maintaining Official Florida Historical Markers and facilitating public access to places marked.