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VIProfile: Desmond & Rozalind Bell

By Emily Robertson

Desmond and Rozalind Bell are working hard to build a legacy here in Bowling Green and beyond. Despite working in wildly different careers, Rozalind is involved with the special needs and mental health communities and Desmond works in the entertainment industry, the couple began to really look into real estate when the COVID pandemic hit. Now, the Bells are working to create something that will not only empower their family, but also their community.

The Bells first met at WKU in Theater Appreciation class in 1998. Rozalind, originally from Louisville, and Desmond, a Bowling Green native, became fast friends. The couple got married in August of 2008 and quickly started to grow in their respective careers. Rozalind works with individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities as a Positive Behavior Support Specialist with KY STEPS and as a Licensed Mental Health Therapist and Desmond has spent more than 20 years in the entertainment industry, booking concerts and shows in Kentucky and across the country. Both love what they do and are passionate about their careers.

“Every day is going to be different for me, but I really don’t consider my job work,” Rozalind says. “I love my people I work with and I feel like in both aspects of my job, I want to change how it is viewed in the black community. Especially for mental health, it was such a stigma in the black community to seek out a therapist. It wasn’t really talked about, so I want to work to change that.”

Even with busy careers that they both love, when the pandemic hit, the Bells began to look at how they could venture into the world of real estate.

“Rozalind’s dad had owned property in Louisville, so he began to help me,” Desmond says. “He would drive me around so I could write down addresses of possible places I could call about buying. One of my favorite games has always been Monopoly, and as a family we still play it together, and I have that same mindset in reality.”

As they purchased properties in Louisville, Felicia Bland contacted Rozalind about a Historic African American neighborhood, here in Bowling Green off Kenton Street, which was set to be torn down.

“We purchased the properties in the neighborhood and we began to redevelop the homes,” Desmond says. “We named the neighborhood BellVue Heights and we see it as something we are doing for our children, so down the line, they’ll have property. Even now, our boys have helped with parts of the rehab and are working to understand rentals and running the business.”

Both Rozalind and Desmond see it as an opportunity to support and uplift the tenants that were living in the neighborhood in homes that were badly in need of repair and restoration.

“We want to create homes that people are excited to live in,” Desmond says. “If I wouldn’t live in it, I wouldn’t expect someone else to live in it. I love creating a home that people can take pride in. We had a tenant that moved out during the rehab, but before she left, she didn’t have a properly functioning toilet. When she moved back in, she was in awe of the updates and the place where she lived. Now, she has so much pride in where she lives, which was something she didn’t have before.”

Another area where the Bells work hard to build a legacy is in their family. The couple has three boys: Cameron, 16, Chase, 13 and Chandler, 11. While the boys keep the family busy with multiple sports and starting their own businesses (Chandler has his own lemonade and drink business called Bell Boy Beverages), Desmond and Rozalind work to instill in their sons the importance of a close-knit family and a strong marriage.

“My husband is my safe space, he’s such a soothing force in my life and he’s definitely a person I can rely on,” Rozalind says. “And my three boys are my greatest gift.” Desmond credits Rozalind with pushing him to be the very best in business and in their family.

“If I never met my wife, my life wouldn’t be where it is now,” Desmond says. “We came from two totally different backgrounds, but when I met her, it changed how I thought, and that has been a blessing. I am able to take risks that I wouldn’t have taken without her. And she helps us focus on what’s important, she makes sure as a family we eat together and talk about the peaks and pits of our day. We work on vision boards for each person in our family to set goals and dreams.”

But no matter how big they dream and how much they accomplish, the couple firmly knows that Bowling Green is home.

“I love that Bowling Green is a family-oriented town,” Rozalind says. “It is a lot safer to raise children and I love that it’s not too far from where my mother is in Louisville.”

For Desmond, he sees the opportunities to travel around the country and then bring amazing opportunities back to the area.

“If I lived in a bigger city, I may have had more opportunities, but I’ve figured out a way to stay here and still build a business,” Desmond says. “I can travel and take notes and then implement it here. I can bring things back here. And I love the growth we are seeing here in Bowling Green.

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