But they're among the 10 nonprofit groups that have lined up to take possession of San Pedro's Point Fermin Lighthouse, an 1884 landmark that has been declared surplus government property.
Altogether, 10 organizations have submitted letters of interest, with full applications due Nov. 9.
Not all of them may follow through with the process, however. A final selection is expected sometime around next spring.
"The whole premise is (to provide) public access and some kind of public benefit and use," said Tom Doszkocs, senior realty officer and project manager with the U.S. General Services Administration in San Diego.
The facility will be conveyed to the selected applicant at no cost and must be used and maintained for the purposes of education, park, recreation, cultural or historic preservation.
Among those applying are the Los Angeles Department of Recreation and Parks and the Point Fermin Lighthouse Society, which has been running the lighthouse as a museum since November 2003.
Those two entities are still in talks about the possibility of combining resources to jointly operate the lighthouse if one or the other is chosen.
Also lining up to receive the lighthouse is the Point Fermin Historical Society, a group that has been in existence
Also submitting letters of interest were:
Symbols of Love Organization (incorporated in Yucaipa for the purpose of providing "family assistance")
Pegasus Haven Ranch Horse Rescue (based in Pahrump, Nev.)
Help is on the Way Foundation (out of Philadelphia and set up for "consulting and credit repair")
Giving Care Inc. (Chicago, focused on "health, education and family care")
PACE (Preserving America's Coastline for Educational and Historical Culture; set up to restore historic sites and to honor veterans)
Sea Research Society (South Carolina, an organization that researches maritime history)
Dana's Hope (Bolingbrook, Ill., providing "home-based personal support")
Several of the organizations could not be reached for comment or did not return calls or emails seeking information. No further details were available about their plans for the lighthouse or whether they would be following up with a formal application.
But all were deemed eligible to submit a full application for the lighthouse based on their letters of interest.
Stephanie Cartozian of Palos Verdes Estates, executive director of the Point Fermin Historical Society, said her group would love to nab the 3.5-acre property, which includes gardens, a garage structure and a guest quarters that sets farther out on the 120-foot-high ocean bluff in Point Fermin Park at 807 Paseo del Mar.
The society, she said, would use the guest quarters as a site for art shows, lectures and other community events.
Cartozian said the lighthouse itself, under her group, would continue to operate as a historic museum offering tours.
Her organization also has ties with the Portuguese Bend Artist Colony.
Lectures, seminars and artist/author events could be staged, she said, in the separate guest quarters building that the group also would renovate.
"It's so iconic and it's such an extraordinary property," she said of the lighthouse and the park. "It's a destination place for the day but it could be better utilized.
"We'd like to see more going on there, more things the community could be involved with."
The government's decision to list the landmark as surplus property last spring did not come as a surprise.
The lighthouse served as the first navigational light for San Pedro Bay. From 1927 until World War II, the beacon was electrified under city management.
After the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the lighthouse went dark and the beacon was never turned on again following the war.
The city, which pays for a full-time curator, and the 300-member Point Fermin Lighthouse Society are hoping their roles through the years in preserving, refurbishing and taking the lead in opening the structure as a museum will give them an added boost in the competitive process.
Ultimately, it will be the National Parks Service and the secretary of the interior that reviews the applications in depth and makes a final selection.
The entity that receives the lighthouse property will have to provide maintenance and preservation plans - and a viable plan to pay for it all, Doszkocs said.
The stiff requirements - and the hefty costs of maintaining a historic landmark on the ocean - might cause some would-be applicants to withdraw or be disqualified, he said.
"It's pretty comprehensive," he said.
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