‘A giant tombstone:’ Rosemary Apartments to be demolished
Posted By: The Toledo Blade on July 26, 2022. For more information, please click here to read the source article.
The abandoned Rosemary Apartments, the site of a tragic teen death in 2016, will be demolished, the Lucas County Land Bank announced Tuesday.
The announcement was made on what would have been the 23rd birthday of Joshua Sorrell, a student-athlete with hopes of becoming an EMT who died after an accident within the structure.
“[The demolition] means everything,” Kerri Sorrell, Joshua’s mother, said. “It is a giant tombstone that is ugly for the entire community to have to look at and heartbreaking for us and our family and friends.”
State funds made the demolition possible, and the site, located at 3632 N. Detroit Ave., will be turned into green space.
The announcement comes after over 20 years of owner neglect, David Mann, the president and CEO of the Lucas County Land Bank, said. In May, 2022, after the building’s current owner failed to abate over 60 pages of nuisance conditions, the Land Bank was able to declare the building a public nuisance.
The Rosemary Apartments building, built in 1923 and abandoned for more than 20 years, is defaced by graffiti.
Glass from shattered windows spills out onto a cracked and uneven parking lot. Trespassers have pulled away the building’s entryway barriers, which now rest crooked against its collapsing facade.
Pre-demolition work has begun, including an asbestos survey and utility disconnections.
“If it’s not taken care of before the demolition, the particles of asbestos make [their] way into the community,” said Lindsay Webb, the Lucas County Treasurer and Chair of the Land Bank. “And with access to the Ottawa River and the number of people in the public in this area, it has to be removed.”
Through the Ohio Building Demolition and Site Revitalization Program, the Land Bank secured $500,000 that will be primarily used to complete this demolition project. The Land Bank has also requested an additional $12 million to pursue other demolition projects in Toledo and Lucas County.
“Realistically, it may not come down until [spring or summer] next year,” Ms. Webb said. “But the process of asking for contractors and for bids and for the resources was absolutely the hardest part. We’ve accomplished that… so now it’s a matter of putting the plan in action and making it happen.”
Also present at the event were Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, State Representative Lisa Sobecki, and Toledo City Council Member Theresa Morris, who all expressed their excitement about the demolition.
“I’ve lived in this neighborhood for 15 years and I’ve never seen this building as anything other than a death trap,” Pastor George Williams, of CityLight Church, said. “Now it’s a great victory because so many people have pushed this ball forward to try to get solutions.”
In its stead, the city plans to plant trees and flowers native to the Toledo region. Since the land is in a flood zone, it would be irresponsible to build a new structure once the Rosemary Apartments building is demolished. Joshua Sorrell’s family has planted a native garden in the wake of his death.
A plaque to commemorate Joshua Sorrell is also being considered.
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