LOUISVILLE, KY (WAVE) - It is a labor of love at a cost of a quarter million dollars. After decades of neglect, the childhood home of Louisville legend and humanitarian Muhammad Ali is getting more than just a fresh coat of paint. The home is being restored to look exactly as it did when it was owned by Ali's parents Cassius (Cash) Clay and Odessa Clay.
WAVE 3 News has been following the restoration project from the beginning and we are finally beginning to see big changes coming from the days and hours of hard work.
There was a time if you drove past Muhammad Ali's childhood home you may not have been able to distinguish it from any other abandoned house in the city. There is a historical marker, placed in the front yard in 2012, but now wood, ladders and a chain link fence around the home are also visible.
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George Bochetto, one of the homes owners and renovators, spoke with enthusiasm as he guided us through the small home.
"This room was the children's room right here," Bochetto said. "This was the original closet that Cassius Clay and Rudolph Clay used when they were both living in this room."
Bochetto and his team know each inch of the houses floor plan as well as all the artifact they must also find to fill the home before the renovation is complete.
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It is a modest neighborhood. The small, one story, wood frame home is located at 3302 Grand Avenue in the West end of Louisville.
Bochetto said, "This is where greatness happened. It's a historic landmark."
The once dilapidated home is changing fast. It has now been gutted and the crew is painstakingly putting the home together piece by piece until it feels and looks the 1950's home of the Clay family.
"I mean it's every bit as significant or more significant as where Elvis Presley grew up or Michael Jackson grew up or any other of our great Americans," Bochetto said.
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The sagging roof, shifting foundation and chipping paint gives it an appearance that is far from glorious.
Bochetto grinned as he proclaimed, "We're returning it to its original condition. This house was once pink in its entirety so of course it will all be pink."
The new owners are not from WAVE Country, but the team they have assembled to restore the home are local and enthusiastic. The pieces to the project are quickly falling into place. The only thing the restored home and museum are missing are 1950 period pieces to place in the home like furniture, lamps and anything else the family would use to make a house a home.