EL CERRITO -- The city is in discussions about taking possession of a house and 1.5-acre tract of land that was included in a living trust by a former UC Berkeley drama professor who died at age 90 in 2003.
The professor, Marvin Rosenberg, specified that his home and five plots around it that he owned at 945 King Drive pass to the city upon the death of his wife Mary.
However, Mary Rosenberg has expressed interest in delivering the property to El Cerrito right now and City Attorney Sky Woodruff is talking with her representatives to see if that can be accomplished, according to Suzanne Iarla, the city's community outreach specialist.
"It involves amending the terms of the agreement to accept the property earlier than her passing away," Iarla said.
Marvin Rosenberg wanted the property, near the intersection of King and Moeser Lane in the El Cerrito hills, to be converted into a park to be named after his first wife, Dorothy, Iarla said.
The City Council accepted the terms of trust at the time of Rosenberg's death.
"It is a typical '50s-style ranch house in an entirely residential neighborhood with a number of mature trees and a lot of yard space," Iarla said.
El Cerrito's Arts and Culture Commission could have input on how the property would be developed. One idea might involve converting the home into a studio and display space with the outdoor areas to be used as a sculpture garden and parklands, Iarla said.
"I brought (the property) to the attention of the commission, which is interested in finding artists' studio space for artists-in-residence," Iarla said.
Marvin Rosenberg was a well-known Shakespeare scholar who received his bachelor's, master's and doctorate degrees in English from UC Berkeley before joining the faculty in 1949, according to an article published by the university at the time of his death.
He retired from the university in 1983, but continued to lecture and publish for many years.
Dorothy Rosenberg was a published poet who died in 1969, according to the article.