Couple requests return of building

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, March 28, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &045;In response to a council proposal to declare the warehouse portion of the Rosenbush buildings donated to the city surplus property for sell or demolition, Bert J. Rosenbush Jr. and his wife Mary Louise Bell Rosenbush have asked the council to consider allowing the couple to pay all expenses incurred for the maintenance and repair of the structure since it was acquired by the city and have it returned to them.

Mr. Rosenbush said he wasn’t informed of the proposal on the council agenda to declare the property surplus until the morning of the council meeting in which it would be discussed. He said he donated the buildings to the city in 2003 with the intentions that they would be properly maintained and used to benefit both the city and its residents.

Mr. Rosenbush said the couple was initially contacted about donating the buildings to the city by then mayor Austin Caldwell to facilitate a need for buildings to house municipal departments and cultural exhibitions. The couple was interested in the request because they wanted to give back to the city, as well as do some good for its residents.

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Mr. Rosenbush said since the couple has donated the buildings &045; noted as the largest donation ever to the city in the deed transfer &045; he has watched as they have fallen into disrepair. He said, after he and his wife spent so many years restoring them, it bothers him to watch something he took so much pride in deteriorate.

Mrs. Rosenbush said they think they have made a fair proposal to the council and they do not want to see the city lose a penny in the ordeal. She said they just want to see the original intentions of the agreement honored, or the building they take so much pride in returned.

During the council meeting in which the Rosenbushes presented their proposal to the council, Councilman Woody Collins expressed his regret that the issue has lead to the present state. The council decided to send the matter, with the new proposal, to the building committee for further review.