Lack of Transparency Continues with Brickyard Lease
Inaccuracies by Officials Rampant; Community Ire Ignored
April 25, 2011, Potomac MD—With the official signing of a lease turning a 20-acre plot on Brickyard Road in Potomac from the School Board over to Montgomery County, the Board of Education and the County have again shown they are ignoring community outcry to slow down or stop the process of turning an organic farm into soccer fields, and that there is no transparency in the process.
“The community has repeatedly demanded the County and the School Board bring the decision about the future of the Brickyard field into the open, but the community is simply being ignored, and the lack of transparency continues,” says Nick Maravell, operator of Nick’s Organic Farm along Brickyard Road in Potomac. “None of the stipulations that the Board of Education previously promised such as gravel parking lots, no lights, no artificial turf, no sound system, no tournaments, are mentioned in the lease. Also, the lease restricts the use to ball fields only, not education or farming, except through the end of the year, although County Executive Isiah Leggett had said in a published letter that the County was considering a dual use.”
Reacting to the move, Caroline Taylor, Executive Director of Montgomery Countryside Alliance (http://mocoalliance.org/), says, “The lease is now signed?Well, that makes the BOE's procedural errors and circumvention of public process official.”
Ginny Barnes, President, West Montgomery County Citizens Association, says, “Signing the lease with the County on this site completes the circle of deception perpetrated on the public by the County Executive and MCPS system. Ike Leggett ran his election campaign on ‘transparency in government’. Where is it?”
Amid the controversy, Nick’s Organic Farm wants to point out some of the other inaccurate statements by key figures in the decision-making process, including the County Executive’s office and the Executive Director of the MSI soccer organization.
Among some of the facts that have been obscured, are:
·The Board of Education (BOE) of Montgomery County (MC) has NOT declared the Brickyard Middle School site “surplus.”
·The Potomac Subregion Master Plan does not identify the Brickyard School site as a ball-fields only site suitable for serving other parts of the County.
·The Maryland-National Capital Park & Planning Commission statistics show the least need for ball fields is in the Potomac Subregion.
PRESS RELEASE fromNick’s Organic Farm, April 25, 2011
Meanwhile, Naomi Bloch, Montgomery County resident adds, “The signing of the lease is very disappointing and feels like a real rush job, which makes one wonder. Not to engage the communities that will be most directly affected and not work to find a win/win solution is certainly not transparency in government.”
Maravell goes on to say, “Many people, including some of our elected officials, have complained, because there was no due process or transparency regarding the future leasing of the Brickyard Road school site. In situations like these, truth often becomes the first casualty. What is there to hide?”
Details of these facts, including hyperlinks to relevant documents, can be found at www.nicksorganicfarm.com/media.html (click on the addendum to this press release). The lease between the County and the Board of Education was signed April 19.
Nick’s Organic Farm LLC (www.nicksorganicfarm.com) is a certified organic farm with operations in Potomac and Buckeystown, MD. From March of 1980 to March 2011, NOF leased a 20-acre plot along Brickyard Road in Potomac from the Montgomery County Board of Education. Nick Maravell, owner of Nick’s Organic Farm, is a nationally recognized organic farmer who is often called upon as a speaker, is quoted in the national media, and is called to testify at federal and state levels. Maravell has farmed organically since 1979. He has been active at the national and state level in the development of organic legislation and standards, organic research priorities, and organic marketing issues. Late last year, USDA Secretary Tom Vilsack appointed Maravell as one of four farmers to serve on the 15-member National Organic Standards Board.
All content on the website of Nick’s Organic Farm is original and the property of Nick’s Organic Farm, unless otherwise indicated.