Nine sought to mull Greenbank Farm future
By NATHAN WHALEN
Whidbey News Times Staff reporter
June 8, 2012 · Updated 1:35 PM
A process is starting that could change how the Greenbank Farm is operated.
The commissioners for the Port of Coupeville are looking for nine people to examine how the Greenbank Farm Management Group has overseen the operations of the publicly owned farm over the past 10 years.
Those nine people will examine the operations of the Greenbank Farm and come up with recommendations on how to proceed with managing the land.
Jim Patton, executive director for the Port of Coupeville, said the volunteer committee will likely come up with one of three recommendations concerning farm management: It would continue with the current management group or find another nonprofit; the port could seek requests from a for-profit business; or the port could operate the farm directly similar to the way it operates the Coupeville Wharf.
There was some disagreement at a meeting last week on how the port should move forward, with one commissioner wanting to expand the scope of the review and look at the Coupeville Wharf.
Commissioner Laura Blankenship said she was disappointed that the review won’t include the operation and organization of the whole Port of Coupeville.
“It seemed like we should be looking at the whole picture,” Blankenship said.
In the end, it was decided to focus solely on the Greenbank Farm.
The Greenbank Farm Management Group has had a lease to operate the farm since 2004. It is set to expire in 2014. Back when the group started managing the farm, it was trying to secure economic development funding from the state. In order to get the $1.5 million award that made possible construction of a new building among other things, the state required that the group sign a long-term lease to manage the property.
Patton said the three commissioners are “beating the bushes” for potential candidates to serve on the committee. He hopes the commissioners will be able to appoint a committee during the Port of Coupeville’s June 13 meeting.
Contact Whidbey News Times Staff reporter Nathan Whalen at firstname.lastname@example.org or 360-675-6611 ext. 5058.