Status Of Brickyard Proposals Is Undecided
Whether the county will consider the alternative proposal for the educational farm to replace plans for soccer fields is still unclear.
Montgomery County received two responses to its request for proposal for the Brickyard Soccer Field Project last week -- one from MSI and an unsolicited proposal for an educational farm. But according to county officials it is unclear if the second, unsolicited proposal will be considered.
Supporters of Nick's Organic Farm, a 30-year farming operation in Potomac threatened by the soccer field development, submitted a proposal to the county March 1, offering the creation of an agricultural education program to launch on the Brickyard site. According to project co-organizer, Sophia Maravell, copies of the proposal were given to Ike Leggett's Office, to Kassa Seyoum, manager for the Brickyard Soccer Field Project for the county, and to all nine members of the Montgomery County Board of Education.
Maravell's proposal would use ten acres of the 20-acre farm for educational purposes, and lease the remaining ten acres to Sophia's father, Nick Maravell, who has farmed on Brickyard Road for 30 years. Over three years the educational farm would expand from a half-acre demonstration garden with kid-friendly activities and structures, to use a full acre for the demonstration garden, nine acres to supply organic vegetables to school cafeterias and the remaining 10 acres leased to Nick Maravell for breeding GMO-free organic seeds.
"I think that because we are taking this proposal to the board of education, who has the interests of Montgomery County school students at their hearts, they'll see that this is a better educational use for the land," Sophia Maravell said. "This land should be used for educational purposes. It's owned by the school board. It really doesn't have anything to do with the county in my opinion."
But according to school officials, the board may have washed its hands of the situation.
"The Board won't have a position on the proposal because the lease is with the county and it's their decision," said Dana Tofig, spokesman for Montgomery County Schools.
The next step for Montgomery County and Brickyard project manager Kassa Seyoum is to review the proposals, but again, the status of the educational farm proposal remains uncertain.
"At this time, I can not discuss this issue until the proposal review is complete," Seyoum told Patch.
While the project proposals are under consideration, Maravell and Keen have already begun efforts to create the educational farm on the Brickyard site, and have had students from Bullis School tour the facility.
"We're hopeful," said Dea Keen, a part-time employee of Nick's Organic Farm and farm manger for the educational project, "but we also need as much public support as we can get."
What would you prefer to see on the Brickyard Road property? Tell us in the comments.