Our beloved Boulder Clubroom will be moving this Saturday, January 30, 2016 — and we need your help! This is a special issue of the Compass newsletter to ask for your support, coming from the Boulder Council, and myself, Rick Casey, as the current chair, speaking on their behalf.
Due to circumstances beyond our control, the Boulder Council was informed earlier this month by the property management company of Table Mesa shopping center, WW Reynolds, that we will need to vacate the Clubroom by February 1. (To see who is on the Boulder Council, see here.) This was shocking news to us, since we thought our sublease from Neptune Mountaineering stated that our lease ran through October 2016, and that we required six months notice if terminated earlier. We immediately contacted the state office and they provided much needed assistance. Upon scrutiny of our lease by CMC legal counsel, our executive director, Scott Robson, showed us where there was a clause in our lease which allowed the property owners to do this. Effectively, we had had a month-to-month lease, which could be terminated with just 30 days notice, while we were under the naive impression otherwise. You have to read the fine print, as they say….
After an anxious period of uncertainty wondering whether we could find affordable commercial space in Boulder’s fervid real estate market, our executive director was able to negotiate a commercial lease of a vacant space almost directly below the current Clubroom at an affordable price. For this, the Boulder Council is extremely grateful, and we thank Scott for his efforts. Now, all we have to is make the move, by February 1, which is next Monday. Nothing like pressure…
The Immediate Plan
The immediate plan is to move all of the Clubroom content on Saturday, January 30. If you can help, please show up at the Clubroom at 9am that day. Of course, you can come later than that too, as I expect we will be busy most of the day. The address and directions are the same as the current Clubroom (see here), and the new unit is almost directly below it, on the ground level between the Map Gallery and the Elevations Credit Union, in the corner, as shown in this arial map:
And here’s what the entrance to our new location looks like at the lower level:
It used to be a martial arts studio (the karate sign isn’t there any more).
We will be paying rent that is far below market rate, and the property owners could ask us to move if they find someone who can pay that; fortunately for us, this space is unattractive as a retail store, and it has been vacant for over a year. As such, the Boulder Council has decided to treat this as a temporary relocation, while we search for a more permanent situation. Again, the state office is assisting us in this search; more about that below.
Some preparation of the new space will be needed, mostly repainting the walls, which as you can see, is rather needed:
Just to let everyone know: there are three ways to get from the old Clubroom, located on the same level as Neptune Mountaineering, to the new location below: 1) down a long flight of steel stairs off the patio, 2) driving from the upper level parking lot (in front of Neptune’s) to the lower level one (there’s a connecting street that goes by the Walnut Cafe and Cafe Sole), or 3) walking out the covered walkway by the Yarn Shop, down a ramp, and into the street that leads to the lower parking lot. I’m sure we’ll be using all of them!
Most of the Clubroom content can be hand-carried, but the larger funiture items will need to be partially disassembled, and moved with handtrucks and dolleys. We will also be renting a truck, which will allow us to avoid having to carry the heavier furniture items down the stairs. The general strategy is to get everything moved first, and because there is ample room in the new space, do some much-needed painting afterwards, and then move furniture out to the walls over time.
Here are other items that would be useful to bring:
- Cardboard boxes
- Pickup truck with open bed
- Bubble wrap for protecting framed pictures & other delicate artifacts
- Strapping tape in dispenser
- Marker pens
Some Clubroom History
The Boulder Group is the only CMC group that rents exclusive use to a commercial space; however, maintaining this arrangement into the future is uncertain. The Denver Group almost does this, by renting space in the American Mountaineering Center in Golden, where the CMC state offices are also located; but all other groups rent rooms on a part-time basis, meet in free public rooms, or just meet in their homes. For most of its history, the Boulder Group did much the same. But when the Boulder Group attained a significant public participation rate in the 1990’s, it seemed justified to maintain a separate clubroom, at nominal costs. At one time, they had a space in the University Memorial Center on the CU Boulder campus, where the student union is located (as once did Rocky Mountain Rescue), and also for time in the Chataugua Community House, now a historical landmark. This is all contained in our hardcopy archives of Club newsletters and Council notes, which are being preserved as part of this move.
But the really significant part of our clubroom history is due to our special relation to Gary Neptune and Neptune Mountaineering. His shop first moved to the Table Mesa shopping center in 1983, and moved into its present location in 1993. (I wrote an article about the history of Neptune Mountaineering shop which was published in the 2014 summer issue of Trail & Timberline.) Gary Neptune had big ideas for his shop and leased more than enough space, always expecting to expand, I guess. By 2002, it was decided that part of that space could be subleased to the Boulder Group, and we had a really nice deal on a sub-market rental rate for over a decade; but by 2011, real estate prices had rebounded to the point that we were asked to make way for the present Yoga Loft, and moved into our current location. We thought this would be the last move for a while, and so invested a considerable sum into remodeling and customizing the interior, as well as investing in the illuminated sign over the front entrance — which no other CMC group has, including the state office, I might add!
The Longer Term Picture
However, times have changed. The participation rate of the Boulder Group is no longer what it once was, and the same is true for other groups across the state. In fact, I learned today that there was once a San Juans CMC group; but a few years ago it asked, sadly, to be dissolved, for lack of membership and interest. So the Boulder Group Council will be taking a harder look at a more sustainable clubroom space in light of these pressures. Given the Boulder real estate market, it would seem wise for a non-profit organization to avoid trying to compete in that market. We had a fortunate patron in Neptune Mountaineering for over a decade, but that relationship has now been severed, and we must look towards our broader community, the non-profit outdoor industry in general, I believe, for a sustainable solution. With that in mind, the state office and the Boulder Group will be scouting for opportunities for a permanent shared space, that is both affordable and practical, to meet our future needs. How that develops is unknown at this point; but if you have any ideas, you are encouraged to contact us.
You can contact anyone on the Boulder Council (see our Contact Us page) regarding the move, but as the chair, I have taken responsibility for heading up the organizing of the effort. My preferred method of contact is email: firstname.lastname@example.org. I can distribute my cell phone number to those who need it, but I’d rather not publish that here.
Hope to see you on Saturday for this historic event!
Chair, Boulder Group, CMC