The Morris Needs Some Love!
Who we are
The Morris Burner Hostel is an amazing and dynamic shared living community, art space, and performance venue that strives to live the Burning Man 10 Principles year round.
Over the last three and a half years, we have built a beautiful community space, but this is too much for us to handle on our own! We have gifted far more than we've charged for, it's in our nature =) We have worked very hard in the last years to be just about at break-even level for basic monthly expenses, but there is no fat in our budget and we have little to no reserves. These additional costs have the potential to be catastrophic for our little community. Please read below....
(Jonah creating the art for the DaVinci Room)
Why we need helpThe Quick and Dirty:
In the last year we have been hit with potentially catastrophic unanticipated costs due to a Reno improvement project spearheaded by the RTC requiring legal counsel.
Additionally, we may need to obtain a change of use permit we did not realize was required for our indoor venue potentially requiring a $30-$50k live feed fire suppression system and other updates/permitting expenses in our Steampunk Saloon and Ballroom venues.
Update/clarification added 4/5/17:
As we continue with this struggle, we may need to use funds to help with on-going monthly expenses as we navigate this whole process. We've lost about half our income recently.
How you can help...
- The money given in this campaign is to help us continue to exist as we move forward and wade through all these regulations and changes. Our income has been cut in at least half. We need to off-set legal fees pertaining to the easement that has been inflicted on us by RTC (Regional Transportation Commission)
- To allow the Steampunk Saloon and Ballroom to purchase and install a live feed sprinkler system and pay any fees for the change of use permit or other costs pertaining to this to be covered.
- To fund legal and accounting fees pertaining to the establishment of the Morris Art Network (MAN) Foundation non-profit, 501(c)3 to move the Arts portion and funding forward in a sustainable and accessible way.
- Any remaining funds will be used towards Morris Burner Hostel capital improvements, a complete list of which are forthcoming along with our business plan on how you can be a part of things moving forward.
The Whole Story:
Late last year, we were notified by the Regional Transportation Commission (RTC) they were doing a street reconstruction and wanted to relocate some utilities to the area directly behind our back lot, and they needed to create an easement that would span the length of the Morris property on our back lot. We have transformed this back lot from a urine-soaked alley into a dynamic, homey gathering place that contains a performance stage, community garden, and area to be able to work on and create art as well as do community outreach. The initial offer for our lot was laughable, taken from when it was still a vacant lot and not the oasis it currently is. We then got notification that RTC was going to sue us for eminent domain, which forces us to seek legal counsel and incur legal expenses.
Additionally, when the building was purchased, we also worked with the city to turn what was a University practice boxing gym, into arguably one of the coolest and most unique performance venues in town. We have tried to do everything we can do to do this legally and above-board. We have asked questions and tried to understand the labyrnth of regulations and talk to all the agencies and departments involved. We recently applied for a change of use because we were told we had to, even though we had previously been allowed to conduct business without it. Based on that, we were given the news that any change of use on our part would have to involve us aquiring a live-feed water sprinkler system for fire suppression, from the fire department. Everyone wants to be safe, we want to be safe and in compliance. This is a huge unforeseen and unanticipated expense for us that there was no way to plan for. We need some help.
(The above pic from a past drum circle, held weekly at the Morris)
Here's a great article about the Morris that appeared in the Guardian
Check it out!
Thanks so much for the tremendous support, so far! Over 40 people have contributed and it swells our hearts with pride and love to know we have such amazing community support. Let's keep the momentum going. Big shout out to Troy Morgan and Jill Marlene, who have BOTH made us money by sharing the campaign. Huge love.
This week, a portion of our intrepid management team headed to City Hall to attend a City Council meeting and were met with great positivity. We went to ask the Council to consider allowing us an extension for installation of the sprinklers and allow our strong revenue stream to reopen in our bar.
We look forward to future meetings in the coming weeks and continuing to work with the City of Reno to perhaps allow us an extension for getting the sprinkler system. We do try to be very, very safe with lots of fire extinguishers, many exits with outward facing panic bars in a space only 28' wide and good safety/emergency plans.
We love our Steampunk Saloon, it's not just a bar, it's a community center. We also love gifting the use of this space for varying events and activities, it's really at the core of who we are and what we want to do. It does provide about half our revenue stream. Right now, we are complying with the order so we won't be fined, and this impacts our entire community in a less than positive way.
We haven't heard anything recently on the RTC front. There has been a steady stream of estimators, contractors, people assessing and making bids on the stuff that has to be moved out of the back yard like the stage, the Jungle Bus to allow the easement to take place. An appraiser recently came by and that visit produced positive results, but we are in a waiting game, to be notified of what happens next with that. When we know, you all will know.
Until then, we are just going to keep on, keepin' on, loving our fellow burners and anyone else that comes along, being good neighbors, stewards of this amazing building, acting with good intentions, honesty and integrity and trust that it's all going to work out!