The Herald Bulletin

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Columns

April 28, 2013

Jesse J. Wilkerson: What about an IPO for Mounds Lake?

ANDERSON, Ind. — An Initial Public Offering is a tool by which businesses go public and oftentimes used primarily to effectively grow or raise capital. A few years ago, when I started the movie project on former Mr. Basketball Kojak Fuller, I approached the state offices about obtaining models of how to properly structure an IPO. The idea was to generate a project by which local citizens could invest/ purchase shares at the ground level.

In the case of the movie project, it was my intent to create a movie, but instead of viewing the movie as only a movie I viewed it laterally as a business. This allowed me to adopt a traditional measure of business in seeking to establish an IPO. Something I would have never considered had I remained in the more common practice approach of developing a movie.

Though the research and fact finding has only begun, there seems to be an overall acceptance of what “most” see as an advantage opportunity for our community in the reservoir proposal. I have even lightheartedly joked with some that we have turned on the water hose at the house to see if we could help fill the reservoir any faster.

In real time, I think there are those who are more apt to be able to effectively communicate how this can be done logistically. My goal is not actually to have you bite on this idea, but to hopefully spark a thought in those who might be more versed in this area who can in fact draw out of this idea a more plausible construct by which citizens can have a piece of the pie.

How many thousands of people would it take to collectively fund a project like this if it went public?  The Green Bay Packers emailed me their IPO and stock option package several years ago. It was interesting to note that for your investment ($250 per share) you get a piece of paper (certificate) that states you are a share holder with no voting rights and no trade value. For many, it was the pride of saying they owned stock in the Green Bay Packers. The investment model engaged by the team helped to monetize the investments of private investors and kept the team local.

Imagine if you will the city of Green Bay without the football team. The team’s presence plays such a large role in their local economy. Is there a return on something like this for investment other than collective input into raising the quality of life? Maybe we don’t package an IPO for people all over the country to purchase shares. Maybe offer shares after we throw in Athletic Park, the Wigwam, the lake proposal and a few other developments and work at creating a new destination place for central Indiana.

Jesse J. Wilkerson is the principal of the local architecture firm Jesse J. Wilkerson & Associates. His column appears every other Monday on the Business page.

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