First, the Board of Education is considering a lease between the Board of Education and the County. They are not considering any lease with any private entity. If there is such a lease, it will be between the County and the private entity after a Request for Proposals has been issued and responded to. The opportunity for public input on that RFP will occur prior to the County issuing the RFP. The RFP will not permit artifical turf. Second, the RFP will not permit lighted ball fields. The intent of anything that is developed on that property is to provide it for recreational use to the community in a way that keeps the land as undeveloped as possible. It will be clear that the property can be reclaimed by the Board for school use. Additionally, if a public private partnership is entered into, the property would have to go through the site plan review process. Again, an opportunity for outside input and discussion.As you referenced, during the discussion of the Potomac Master Plan the use of this site was subject to much discussion. In the words of the adopted Master Plan, if it is not used for a school, its use for ball fields or other recreational purposes was clearly contemplated and encouraged. (See the attached excerpt from the Master Plan). Therefore, the Executive’s hope to enter into a public private partnership to accomplish this goal seems very reasonable.Furthermore, Park and Planning’s 2005 PROS plan references the need for more multipurpose rectangular fields, especially in theDown County. Specifically, it calls for the need for an additional 73 rectangular fields. This is on pages 4-6 of the Executive Summary. http://www.montgomeryparks.org/PPSD/ParkPlanning/Projects/LPPRP/LPPRP_2005/LPPRP_Executive_Summary.pdf. Park and Planning has been aware. General Services director David Dise held at least one meeting with Rose Krasnow and staff to run this possible use past them. They did not raise any concerns that were “show stoppers”.
Given the tremendous need for ball fields throughout the County and particularly in the downcounty, this site is one of the few where this makes sense. We will gladly take input as we finalize the RFP and look forward to working with the community.
Saturday, March 5, 2011
The Parents' Coalition greatly appreciates Montgomery County Government sending us the following statement with regard to the Board of Education's March 8, 2011, Agenda Item to lease 20 acres of school land.
However, what the public really needs right now is for the Lease in question to be made public for review prior to the Board vote, and for the New Business provision of the Board Operations Policy to be honored by the Board of Education.
The Lease is between two public bodies.
We are the public.
Show us the Lease.
I'd appreciate your posting this on your blog. Thanks.
Public Information Director [Montgomery County Government]