City officials given OK to begin making repairs on historic Rosenbush building

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 29, 2004

Bert Rosenbush gave the City of Demopolis two historic buildings that are located downtown. But now the city must decide whether or not to spend the money to fix the two historic buildings, so the city can use them for future endeavors.

The front building or the bigger of the two buildings has already caught the eye of some local groups who are looking to move their offices there once the building is brought up to code. The Demopolis Chamber of Commerce, The Demopolis City School Foundation, and the Industrial Board are some of the groups who have already stated they are looking to move.

The first step in bringing the buildings up to speed is to fix the aging roofs. The city leased out Deason Roofing from Tuscaloosa to do the repairs to the tune of $83,300.

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The repairs started on the bigger of the two buildings earlier this week, but the city has put off the repairs to the second building or the warehouse until a structural engineer can come and evaluate the building to make sure it’s worth repairing.

Mary Shell and Tom Kaufmann with the Alabama Historical Commission came to Demopolis Thursday to look over the warehouse and make a judgment for the city.

“We are here to access the building and to make a recommendation for its future,” Kaufmann said.

He looked around at the old warehouse and said my first reaction after looking around is that this building has potential, but needs to be investigated further. He also said that this building gives him a sense of the history that is stored in Demopolis.

“Looking around at the old sewing machines and the rusted old signs gives me a sense of this building’s history,” Kaufmann said.

After looking at the wood flooring which was the biggest concern of the engineers, they gave Mayor Caldwell and the City of Demopolis the go ahead to start repairing the warehouse.

“We brought in Kaufmann and Shell to give us their opinion on whether or not the building was worth saving and they said yes,” Caldwell said.

Caldwell said they hope to have the roofing project completed on the two buildings in the next 60-90 days. He also said once that is finished they could bring in some architects to start developing some plans for the two buildings.