By Jim Stingl
There’s a lot of talk about engaging young people in the Sherman Park neighborhood, improving lives and reducing crime.
Wolfgang Rosenau says he knows just the place that can happen: a spacious, vacant and beautiful building right across the street from the park.
Determined to honor a deathbed promise he made to a friend who owned the building, Rosenau is trying to find a buyer who will convert the 40,000-square-foot space into a community center to meet multiple needs of area residents.
Rosenau, 71, of Glendale, is not in the real estate business. He deals in antiques, which is how he met Al Schrager, who ran Schrager Auction Galleries at the former church site from the 1980s until a couple years before his death in 2013 at age 95. He operated the business at another location for decades before that.
Rosenau invited me on a tour this week. I noticed the brick building’s stately columns and stained-glass windows when I pulled up in front. Before Schrager’s, it was the Third Church of Christian Science.
“You might feel the importance of this thing, the potential of it,” he said.
For years now, Rosenau has attended brainstorming meetings and reached out to politicians, community organizations, businesses, educators, artists, news reporters and others to get somebody interested in turning the structure into something positive for the neighborhood.