BEDFORD, Va. -

The National Park Service was supposed to be the D-Day Memorial's lifeline.

In 2009 the monument was strapped for cash and leaders believed a government takeover was the best option to keep the site open.

Today money is still tight, but a hand-up from Washington doesn't sound like a good idea anymore.

"After a while we realized that it wasn't the best fit for us, and we looked at other avenues," said memorial president,  April Cheek-Messier.

In deciding not to take over the memorial, the National Park Service noted that the landmark has efficient leadership, and offers a wide variety of events and educational programs.  Due to limited funding, NPS officials felt the government might not be able to replicate what was already offered at the Bedford landmark.

The memorial organization will remain private.  That will give leaders more flexibility to plan and hold large events, which they hope will increase the landmark's visibility and it's base of donors.

"We really want to become much more national than we are now," said Cheek-Messier.

A connection with the park service would have given the memorial more visibility, but tourism officials like Sergei Troubetzkoy believe the attraction will be fine on its own.

"I don't think it's going to have a huge effect on the memorial," said Troubetzkoy, Bedford's director of tourism.  "Maybe in the long term it will (have an impact), but I don't expect us to see much of a change."

Memorial leaders now plan to put a greater focus on marketing and fundraising.  They hope large donors will step in to not only keep the monument open, but help develop new projects like an education center, which has been discussed for more than a decade.

"We need support and we want to let our veterans who come for the 70th anniversary this summer know that this monument will be here for generations to come," Cheek-Messier said.

The memorial currently receives no federal or state funding and relies solely on donations to remain open.