David R. Holmes
DDN: So far the Reynolds Foundation, the Miami Conservancy District and theMetro Parks District have pledged a combined $2 million to the riverfrontplan. Where's the rest of the money coming from?
Holmes: We've got requests into the state. (Rep.) Tony Hall (D-Dayton)thinks he's found some sources from a federal standpoint. We're asking thecounty for a certain amount of dollars. It's not all nailed down, buthopefully we can piece it around and see how it all fits. A lot of peoplehave done well on the stock market. We're going to mount a very comprehensivecampaign.
DDN: What will be your sales pitch for contributions?
Holmes: The riverfront is a fantastic asset, and we've known it for a longtime and it needs to be developed to its full potential. It can reinvigoratethe city. By staging it properly we can prime the pump for private investment,which will create jobs, which will create people living downtown.
DDN: What will be your personal contribution?
Holmes: My personal contribution begins with a vast amount of time andenergy. What I do privately, Nancy and I haven't discussed yet. I don't thinkthat's where my leverage is, really. My leverage is trying to energize thecommunity around this and tap the major organizations.
DDN: What other companies would you like to see involved?
Holmes: We've got to tap all the major companies in this community. Butit's not just those. Someone told me the other day that we've got 15,000millionaires in the community. So where are they? We've got to create a strongfund-raising cabinet to reach those kind of contacts. This is a project thathas value to all those outlying areas. We've got to take a road show out tothose various communities and get them on board. We can't have a strong regionwithout a strong center city.
DDN: What are downtown's prospects for survival if this plan collapses?
Holmes: I don't ever say that if this one thing doesn't happen then it allcomes tumbling down. But clearly the city's being tested. Clearly the trendswe've seen have not been encouraging in terms of activity or vitality. This isa pivotal point, a fork in the road and a real opportunity to turn the wholecommunity around.
DDN: Dayton has a spotty history when it comes to civic projects andriverfront redevelopment has been talked about for about 40 years. What makesyou believe this will succeed?
Holmes: The difference is how we've built consensus around it. We havebroad base of support. The mayor is 100 percent on board. This project ishaving a galvanizing effect - it's truly got everyone behind it. I know of nodetractors. (Dayton City Manager) Valerie Lemmie walked over and said, 'Hey,can I give you a big hug?' We are absolutely committed to bringing thisthrough and bringing it to completion. There was never a downtown Daytonpartnership before, never that catalyst to bring together public and privatesectors and bring together community leaders. I think this community is hungryto make something happen now. This isn't just a pretty park. It's a set ofwell-timed investments that makes that particular asset attractive and drawsin people from outside communities and enhances the value and vitality of thatarea, which in turn primes the pump for private investment. The dial isalready moving. This is going to be an attractive place.
Holmes: It's personal. I don't want to live in a losing community. I don'tthink anyone does. As far as (the location of the halfway house), it'sunfortunate, but I think that problem will be corrected very soon.
DDN: What will shareholders think of the company's heavy involvement in aproject like this?
Holmes: This is not money taken from our earnings per share. This is moneytaken out of our foundation and it's money that won't impact our marketvaluation. We've always been involved in the community. You can't just sit inyour own sandbox and not worry about the world around you. Are you in businessfor the community or for profit? I believe you're in business for a blend ofboth.
DDN: Your headquarters isn't even on the Great Miami River. What doesReynolds get out of this?
Holmes: It's not about Reynolds, but there are things that Reynolds getsout of it, just like any business in this community. Our business is driven bypeople. We've got to be able to attract people of high caliber to anattractive community.