Clash over the future of historical John Ross House
WALKER COUNTY, ROSSVILLE, GA (WRCB)- The future of the historical John Ross House is up in the air after a disagreement over ownership. One man is now fighting an organization over what happens next.
The director of the John Ross Association says the disagreement involves the Rossville Downtown Development Authority. He says they approached the association about holding a festival at the home and a discussion started about who actually owns the home.
The Authority chairman says it is just a big misunderstanding.
"I don't understand why these people can't get it through their head, that they don't own this John Ross House. They own the property, granted. But they don't own the house," says Larry Rose.
Rose is head of the John Ross Association. He has helped oversee the John Ross House in Rossville for almost 45 years.
After approaching the Rossville Downtown Development Authority about holding a John Ross Festival, to help raise money to make much needed repairs to the home, he got shot down because of insurance issues.
"What if someone had come in and had a life sustaining injury. There was no liability on the area," says Ron Wade.
Wade is the Chairman of the Rossville Downtown Development Authority. He says he wanted to secure the house from the public until the insurance was worked out and that is where the clash began.
"It's a miscommunication right now. We'd like to have the people to come and sit down with us and work on the house itself, to get it ready to go as far as repairing and market that as it should be," says Wade.
He says he has reached out to the John Ross Association but still has not heard anything.
In the meantime, Rose bought an hour of air time on a local cable station to voice his concerns over how the RDDA wants to handle the property.
"I don't think that they have a historical thing, interest at all. I think it's all about money," says Rose.
Wade says to a degree it is about money.
"The John Ross House is a marvelous piece of history. But it's not going to sustain that area. It's not going to bring us any tax money into that particular area," says Wade.
At the end of the day, both agree on one thing. The John Ross House is crucial to the city of Rossville.
"The home itself, the John Ross House, is part of the Rossville legacy," says Wade.
"This is very important. This is the key to the whole area," says Rose.
Wade says he is hoping to sit down soon with Rose and the association.
He says the RDDA's ultimate goal is to bring new life and development to the area around the home for financial support but leave the home untouched.
Rose says at one point the association considered moving the home somewhere else but only as a last resort.