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Port commissioners laying groundwork for Greenbank Farm change

By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey Examiner Staff
February 22, 2014 · Updated 2:59 PM
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Commissioners for the Port of Coupeville are starting work to determine how the Greenbank Farm will be operated.

The current contract with the Greenbank Farm Management Group expires in mid-2015 and port commissioners are looking at the best way to prepare for that deadline.

The three-member elected board will meet in March to discuss parameters they would like to include in the request for proposal used to advertise for potential entities interested in managing the Greenbank Farm.

“There are a lot of questions that need to be addressed,” said Port of Coupeville executive director Tim McDonald.

Once those parameters are established, then the public will have a chance to comment on them in April.

Commissioner Mike Diamanti said the upcoming comment period should focus on items to include in a potential contract and not denigrate the current management group currently running the farm.

The issue surrounding the future of the Greenbank Farm has been controversial for more than a year. At the beginning of 2013, a volunteer group tasked with providing recommendations on transitioning the farm once the management group contract expires presented a report, which said the contract should not be extended.

The report suggested that the port not assume management of the farm, but send out an RFP to find a suitable entity to oversee the farm. The volunteer group also recommended the port should also explore the conditional sale of the farm with restrictive covenants.

The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville later in 2013 ended up extending the Greenbank Farm Management Group contract by more than a year. The arrangement had to be maintained to fulfill requirements of a state contract that provided more than $1 million for construction projects at the farm. That contract stated the management group had to run the farm for 10 years.

The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville will meet at 10 a.m., Wednesday, March 12, in Room 116 at the Island County Administration Building.

 

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