Neighbors 'champion' to see Ali's boyhood home as memorial

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by Alex Schuman

WHAS11.com

Posted on August 18, 2014 at 11:46 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Blistering speed, power, and sharp words defined a young Muhammad Ali.  He would become a giant who fought tirelessly in the ring, and for the less fortunate. 

His fans come from across the world to see where he learned to be a giant, and find a small house.

“There’s been three or four owners since Muhammad was over there,” said Lawrence Montgomery, who has known Ali for decades.

“He was my babysitter,” he said.  “He and his brother babysat for us.  All they required was bologna sandwiches in the refrigerator.”

Montgomery and the other neighbors watch fans stop by this historic home every day.

“We have tour buses coming through here from all over the country – even from Canada,” Montgomery said.

“No one really takes care of it,” another neighbor Walter Bailey said about the house.  “No one keeps up with it.”

You can see a damaged roof, mold, and what appears to be little upkeep.  A real estate investor from Las Vegas, Jared Weiss, purchased the home Sept. 11, 2012.

“People keep asking me if I’ve seen anything, and we’re like, ‘No.  I haven’t seen anything,’” Benice Darling, another neighbor said.

Neighbors praise the new owner for hiring someone to mow the law, which they used to do themselves.  But the community wants more.

“If would be great if we could take [visitors] to something that was of remembrance of Mr. Ali growing up there rather than an empty, vacant, abandoned house,” Councilwoman Attica Scott , who represents the district where Ali’s house is located said.

We reached out to Weiss, but have not heard back.  His secretary told WHAS11 earlier this year things for the house are still in the planning stages, and changes may not come from years.

"It would just be my pleasure to see it become a memorial home for Muhammad Ali while he's still alive,” Montgomery said.

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