“Since the [New Albany] redevelopment commission acquired the funding to do the park ... it’s a very positive asset that we have, but we had never really taken advantage of that asset to do a festival like this,” said Ted Fulmore, S. Ellen Jones neighborhood association president. “That’s really the driver behind this, is to utilize that park in a positive way.”
The project has been ongoing for about seven years and has cost between $550,000 to $600,000 for rehabilitation of the house, Hock said. The house is about $150,000 to $175,000 in work from completion.
“Just to keep the house from not falling down was a major job,” Hock said. “Unless it was a labor of love, this house would have never been saved.”
A large portion of the funding to save the house came from a $200,000 grant from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County. The foundation also has donated another $45,000 for construction of a library at the site, news disclosed at the dedication ceremony.
The Cardinal Ritter Birthplace Foundation is searching for a nonprofit organization to move into the home, with another portion of the house being used as a museum.
“It’s more than just the building and the park — it’s the continuation of the legacy that Cardinal Ritter left,” said state Rep. Ed Clere
R-New Albany. “Honestly, a lot of folks wouldn’t have believed three or four years ago that you could have a neighborhood festival here — in what is now Ritter Park — and have hundreds of people come out.”
“This is what a neighborhood is supposed to be like; that’s why the park was built.” Fulmore said.