Friday, May 12, 2017

UPDATE: Tiny House Jamboree to leave Colorado Springs

Posted By on Fri, May 12, 2017 at 5:24 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY ECOCABINS
  • Courtesy EcoCabins
The National Tiny House Jamboree updated its website today with an announcement on where the event will be moving, as well as a new partnership.

The organizers have joined forces with Reed Exhibitions, who boasts of producing more than 500 events in 30 countries, attracting 7 million people in 2016.

And this year's jamboree will now take place in Arlington, Texas from October 27 to 29.

There's a lengthy explanation of "why Arlington" on the site, related partly to it being "a hotspot for the Tiny House movement" as well as "having the resources to handle this expanding event."

Both educational programming and the amount of vendors and houses will expand as well.

For those needing to change travel plans or get tickets refunded, the organizers have also provided info on those details.

We spoke with Darin Zaruba, President of EcoCabins and the founding sponsor of the jamboree to talk more broadly about the impact of the event leaving, as well as the state of affairs for tiny homes in Colorado Springs.

His best guess — and it is a guess, since his organizers were unable to do an official study during the first two years of the event — is that on the low end of economic impact it brought between $1 and $2 million to town, if not upwards of $5 million.

He says Air Force Academy folks who assisted with last year's event reported attendance in excess of 60,000 people over the weekend. Hotels in a wide radius were sold out, as were such things as ice machines, he says. Impact would of course factor in restaurant and bar sales and other periphery expenditures from both locals and tourists.

We'll share more of our chat with Zaruba in next week's paper, particularly his thoughts on what's needed for C. Springs to become more progressive and tiny home friendly.

—— ORIGINAL POST: 5:26 P.M., THURSDAY MAY 4 ——-

Despite Colorado Springs now being home to tiny home builders like EcoCabins and Tumbleweed Tiny Homes, the largest tiny home manufacturer in the U.S., it has never really been poised to be the "tiny housing 'capital of America'" as this Gazette article would have us believe.

While more progressive cities like Portland are testing programs such as tiny houses for the homeless, the Springs relegates them to RV parks, with building and zoning requirements not currently allowing for them to gain a foothold inside the city as residences.

As we detailed in our article last year on a program calling for a similar solution as Portland's, here's the central problem:
There's a way around minimum square footage requirements if you build the home on wheels, call it an RV and register it with the state through the DMV. But then you run up against another pesky roadblock: You can't live out of an RV parked on a residential lot as a permanent residence.
Regarding regulations and tiny homes, there's a lot you need to know, city by city.

What's especially going to not make the Springs the tiny home capital of anything is news that we're now losing the Tiny House Jamboree. This is a popular annual event in August each year that was reported to draw more than 50,000 visitors last year.

Here's the beginning of what they have on their website:
We have very exciting news coming over the next few days, with even bigger plans for the future! As this movement and industry continue to explode, it is clear our grassroots event was getting too big for Colorado Springs, the venue, or our Jamboree group to handle alone. Therefore, we are postponing the dates, changing the venue, adding professional resources, and have temporarily suspended ticket sales and vendor registration. Check on our website on our Facebook page or newsletter for information. We will post updates as soon as they are available.
And a little more on their Facebook page:
Doug Price, president and CEO of the Colorado Springs Convention & Visitors Bureau, says he's unable to gauge an accurate economic impact on what losing the Jamboree means. The calculators used for such data need inputs such as how many attendees came from out of the area and stayed the night in hotel rooms, etc. It's not data his office has for this event.

We have reached out to the organizers of the Jamboree for more information and will update this posting if we receive any.

What Price did feel comfortable saying, was that if somehow all of those 50,000-plus weekend attendees were only locals (they weren't) economic impact would still exceed $60,000 a day, bare minimum.

We aren't in the guessing game here at the Indy, either, but we'd feel comfortable wagering that the event probably carried an impact well into the six digits, if not low millions. It's a shame to lose it.

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