Buzzards Bay Coalition opens collaborative Field Operations Center in Marion

Oct 13, 2018

MARION — On Friday night the new building at the intersection of Route 6 and Spring Street lit up, as the Buzzards Bay Coalition Marion Field Operations Center had its official opening. Donors, town selectmen, the builders who worked on the project and organization staff all gathered together to mingle, hear some remarks and celebrate the opening of the building.

For the first hour of the Oct. 12 event, guests were free to explore the building’s main floor, second story storage areas for equipment, laboratory, and office-like space, or to enjoy the beautiful late afternoon sunlight outside under the covered space where the coalition will keep its boats. 

Although the environmental organization will keep its headquarters in New Bedford, it needed  space to store all of the equipment that it uses to maintain its land sites and perform its water quality research.

“Looking around, I see many people whose barns and garages we have filled with equipment,” said President of the Buzzards Bay Coalition Mark Rasmussen in his remarks later in the evening, drawing chuckles from the crowd. 

When the coalition began considering where to put a new field operations center, it began the process by looking for a location that would be central to its land holdings and have easy access to the highway.

The Spring Street site fit both those requirements, and the Field Operations Center will serve as “a lawnmower shop and a boat shop and a lab all in one site,” according to Rasmussen.

The location on Spring Street seemed a prime choice in terms of accessibility, but proved a tricky design project, because of space and environmental constraints. Other businesses abandoned the site when faced with these challenges, and the Coalition bought the property at public auction. It was able to make the property work for their needs.

The new operations center isn’t just in Marion, it also marks the start of what the coalition hopes will be a new collaboration with Marion.

Placing the center in Marion may seem surprising, given that the coalition has publicly challenged Marion on its sewage system, and did so again at the event, calling it the last town on the bay with an unlined sewage treatment system.

But Marion resident and Buzzards Bay Leadership Council member David Croll has some hope that Marion will remedy that problem.

“People are starting to come together on what the solution needs to be,” Croll said in his remarks at the event.

The coalition hopes to involve various members of the Marion community in its mission and data collection. It aims to get more people on the bay, so that residents can see what a fantastic natural resource it is.

Rasmussen also hopes that the Sippican Lands Trust and other environmental groups in Marion will be able to use the space to their advantage.

“This has been a great moment when I think about how this [center] is connecting Marion to our mission,” Croll said.