According to Thane “Jay” Plank of Ramona, owner of the former Rosebank Brethren in Christ church building 2.5 miles northwest of Ramona, repairs have been completed and the facility is ready for use.
Tiles on the entire basement ceiling have been replaced. The large kitchen is equipped with two electric ranges, a double-sink island, a new refrigerator, two cookers, a microwave, and two large serving counters. The cupboards are supplied with drinking glasses and cups.
There are five smaller rooms around the perimeter of the large dining room. All of the walls in the basement have been repainted. Wooden doors and trim were washed with a Clorox solution and treated with a preservative.
De-humidifiers are in constant use to control humidity. A 6x15-foot side room constructed of two-foot-thick concrete in the walls and ceiling is available as a storm shelter. A tournament-size pool table is at one end of the dining hall.
Plank and his assistant, son Justin, have re-installed the original homemade altar, several high-backed chairs, and a railing on the platform in the carpeted sanctuary. Heating, air-conditioning, and a sound system are available. Plank recently purchased five 15-foot-long pews for the sanctuary. He plans to install a piano and organ.
Bathrooms have been restored to working order. The nursery is equipped with a bathroom stool and sink.
There are about 300 folding chairs available for use in the sanctuary or basement. Five folding tables also are available.
The church has a handicap-accessible entrance.
The church foyer is currently a temporary photo gallery. The walls are lined with historic photographs from the Ramona area that originally were kept by the California Sisters in the former bank building in Ramona.
Plank would like to see the building used as a church again. He said he would sell it for the right price but would rent it to recover some of the cost of repairs and maintenance.
“I would make somebody a really good deal,” he said.
Aside from that, the facility is available for group meetings or for special occasions such as funerals, weddings, and family reunions. A nominal fee would be charged.
Plank, whose father, Cecil Plank, was the minister of the church for 30 years, said he is considering obtaining a restricted license to perform wedding ceremonies and conduct funerals.
Plank said he is open to suggestions from the public on how they would like to use the building. He said the basement would be an ideal place for a “tornado party” in times of bad weather. The sanctuary could be used for music concerts, plays, dinner theaters, movies, or other presentations.
“I want to keep it inexpensive,” he said. “I want the community to make use of it.”
Plank estimates that, after a new roof is put on, he will have spent close to $40,000 on the facility.
The building will be open again this year for visitors during Memorial Day weekend. At least 60 people visited in 2011. Plank said visitors to the church cemetery are welcome to come into the church for cookies and coffee or water.
Plank was 21 when he left Kansas with his family. Now, at age 69, he has come back to his roots. He is hoping to keep the past alive for the Rosebank and Ramona communities through his efforts at preserving his home church.
Plank may be contacted at (775) 764-0593.