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Rosemary Apartment building to be demolished after two decades of vacancy

City leaders called it a "blighted building" due to a history of maintenance issues, several fires and the death of 16-year-old Joshua Sorrell.

TOLEDO, Ohio — The Rosemary Apartments in north Toledo have stood vacant for nearly two decades, with city leaders calling it a "blighted building" due to a history of maintenance issues, several fires and the death of 16-year-old Joshua Sorrell.

On Tuesday, city leaders said the building serves no purpose to the future of Toledo and will be demolished. The announcement was made on what would have been the 23rd birthday for Sorrell, who fell five stories to his death in 2016 after going into the building with a group of friends.

The partially collapsed building, with broken windows and overgrown grass, has been an eyesore for decades. Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz said the previous owner before it was abandoned two decades ago did a 'criminal job at maintaining it.'

With funding from the state and a partnership between the Lucas County Land Bank and the city, demolition will soon begin tearing down the building at the corner of North Detroit and Phillips avenues.

"This building is unsafe with 60 pages of nuisance citations. Its day has come and gone," he said. "We're going to celebrate the demolition of a building that, frankly, has needed to be demolished for an awfully long time."

Sorrell's family sees the building as something much more than an eyesore though.

"It is nothing more than a giant tombstone for our son that people have to look at all the time," Kerri Sorrell said. "It needs to come down."

Joshua's loved ones have been advocating for the demolition for six years.

The city is working on getting bids from contractors now, so demolition isn't expected to be finished until sometime next year.

The city also said nothing will be built on that property in the future, as it's a flood plain to the Ottawa River.

Instead, they are hoping it will be a green space with a memorial honoring Joshua.

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