Muhammad Ali childhood home museum may be heading to Philadelphia
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) – It was a scene so many of us will never forget, the day The Champ took one final ride through his hometown.
One of the most sentimental stops was when Ali's hearse paused at his childhood home in the Parkland neighborhood.
That home was turned into a museum by out of town investors, but it is now closed and could be lifted and moved north.
The childhood home may be heading to Philadephia, according to the museum's developer George Bochetto who used to be the Boxing Commissioner for the state of Pennsylvania.
He says due to a lack of support, he is now having meetings and is receiving financial offers to relocate what he says should be a crown jewel for the Derby City.
When it comes to the pictures of Muhammad Ali's history, there's no need to Google some of those memories, all you have to do is sit and talk with Lawrence Montgomery.
Mr. Montgomery is a close friend of the Ali family and was thrilled to see the Champ's childhood home restored to become a museum in 2016.
But it didn't even make it more than 15 months, the developers had to close it in late September.
"I was really surprised to hear it was closing because of no support from the city," Montgomery said. "Pennsylvania and Philadelphia are dying to have this home move there, I don't want to do it because it belongs in Louisville but I’m going to do it if Louisville doesn't wake up," George Bochetto told WHAS11 News.
Bochetto, the owner and developer says even a historic landmark such as the childhood home can’t survive without the financial backing of the city, adding, "When you have to have a program director, security, tour guides, you have to pay utilities, maintenance and everything else, how much do you generate with an $8 ticket price?"
Bochetto says he met with Mayor Greg Fischer back in the Spring but not much changed afterward, telling us, "What he has not done is really put the pressure on his budgeting staff and his administration to make sure the city steps up and helps support and promote the museum."
I'd like to see it reopened again and if they can't get support from around here we should ask nationwide for support for funding," Montgomery adds.
Mr. Montgomery and other neighbors we talked with say the home belonged to The Champ and The Champ belongs to Louisville.
Here's the response WHAS11 received from Mayor Greg Fischer's office regarding the Boyhood Home Museum, "The city allocated $50,000 for the museum but the owners never picked up that check. So, the city has been supportive of the museum. The Bochetto's own the home and can move it should they choose. But, Muhammad Ali's home will always be 3302 Grand Avenue."
The mayor's office says it will look at the budget in January to see if it can provide more funding.
George Bochetto says never say never, he wants to find a solution to keep the museum in Louisville but adds that he can't do it by himself.