NATURAL BRIDGE, Va. -

Natural Bridge is a familiar sight for many who live in Southwest Virginia and now, it's going to become the center of Virginia's next state park.

The bridge was first purchased by Thomas Jefferson from the King of England back in the 1770's. And the former owner, Angelo Pugliesi, really wanted to maintain and preserve the history surrounding the bridge and the surrounding area for future generations.

"This served the end result of the goal he had all along is to preserve this for the public. This is just a story that needs to be told."

The story Jim Woltz of Woltz Associates speaks of has to do with this man, Angelo Pugliesi. The son of Italian immigrants who made his fortune in real estate, and who now wants to use it to preserve a legacy.

"Angelo was worried that story was just going to get lost. If it sold to a third party, he'd no control over what they would do with it," Woltz told Your Hometown News Leader.

Pugliesi has owned the Natural Bridge property since 1988 and wanted this sale to become part of Virginia's history.

"He said at 88 years old, it was time I did something about it."

So, as part of the deal, he gifted the Natural Bridge structure and more than 180 acres of land, valued at $21,000,000 dollars, to the Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund. In turn, the fund will deed the property to the state which will turn it into a state park.

"This way it preserves the history, it preserves the beauty, the conservation easement preserves 1500 acres of land that will become the state park and it's a win-win," Woltz said.

But do residents feel the same way?

Rockbridge County Resident Kevin Hull said, "Natural Bridge becoming a park will greatly increase traffic business, not only that but restaurants."

I'm concerned about fees, entry fees. And I hope they don't price the locals out of the market so they can continue to enjoy the resource," Rockbridge County resident, Arlezer Quiller told WDBJ7.

The Virginia Conservation Legacy Fund's loan will be paid using the attraction's tourist revenue. That works out to roughly 2-million dollars per year.

Those close to the sale say the loan should be paid off and the complete designation to state park is slated for 2015.