Farmer Sophia Maravell, who is spearheading Brickyard Educational Farm (BEF) on the Montgomery County schools land along Brickyard Road in Potomac, stated concerns to Montgomery County this week about the county’s acceptance of a bid for a sublease leading to the construction of parking lots and soccer fields on the site.
“This letter raises serious objections which constitute a protest and appeal to the recent decision by the County to enter into a Sublease and Development Agreement with Montgomery Soccer, Inc. (MSI),” Maravell wrote.
Several aspects of the bid procedure were flawed, said Maravell in a letter hand-delivered on Monday.
- The proposal submitted by BEF to continue providing agricultural education to the county’s students on the site was not acknowledged.
- BEF preserves a unique public asset.
- BEF provides required educational outdoor opportunities on school property.
- The county rendered the bid procedure non-competitive by viewing only one bid.
- The county circumvented normal contract procedures by issuing a “request for qualifications” instead of the usual “request for proposals,” thus avoiding defined procurement terms.
- The county improperly cancelled a pre-bid conference and site inspection.
- The decision to accept MSI’s proposal came much quicker than the June/July date originally expected, raising questions about the county’s efforts to follow due diligence.
- Allowing a sports organization to develop school land is contrary to state and/or county laws/regulations.
- Decision-making without heeding public input is unacceptable.
- Conditions for the development of the site promised by the County Executive were left out.
Brickyard Educational Farm is a garden education program for students of Montgomery County. It offers programs that fulfill the Maryland environmental literacy standards through the No Child Left Inside initiative and the Jane Lawton Farm to School law, and provide an experiential learning model.