Coastal Connections purchases historic site for new headquarters

Coastal Connections Inc. recently completed the purchase of the former Bartley Machine and Manufacturing Building at 35 Water St., Amesbury. Coastal Connections operates day programs for individuals with disabilities.

“We are thrilled to now call Amesbury our permanent home,” said Deb Plumer, executive director of Coastal Connections.

Coastal Connections moved into the former Bartley building in December 2009 and was determined to remain in Amesbury. With its current lease ending in July 2019, the Coastal Connections Executive Staff and its board of directors completed a search of feasible sites to relocate its day program operations.

Coastal Connections Inc. was formed in 2008 as a nonprofit to deliver creative day program supports for people with disabilities that promote living, working, learning and playing in the local community. Co-founders, including Plumer, Vicky Hunt and Sheila Skane, established the agency to offer continuity of service to individuals with disabilities. After positioning the agency to provide services, Coastal Connections began to expand and needed new space. In 2009, Coastal Connections targeted Amesbury for relocation due to the promise of the development of the Lower Millyard and impending opening of the Nick Costello Transportation Center. Bartley Machine and Manufacturing was founded in 1937 and the 35 Water St. condominium was built by Bartley employees in 1984. Upon visiting the former Bartley Machine building in 2009, Plumer and Hunt recognized the potential that the building offered. Located on the Amesbury river walk, the building offered the necessary square footage to comply with all the regulations yet the building was constructed to match Amesbury’s historic mill buildings.

“The building was built by Bartley Machine employees in 1984 and there is a strong personal relationship with the building,” said Bartley family representative Rick Bartley. “We are very happy to see Coastal make this their permanent home and continue to be an integral, strong member of the Amesbury community. It was important to my family that we find the right owners. It is great to see Coastal continuing its mission on Water Street.”

The building establishes the first phase of the new Water Street Commerce Center Condominium, which allows for future phases on site. The mission of Coastal Connections focuses on the mutually beneficial aspects of connecting to the Amesbury community. Coastal Connections directs its programs and services to benefit the city, providing volunteer work at the Amesbury Council on Aging, Pettengill House, Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Lowell Boat, John Greenleaf Whittier Home, Maplewood Nursing Home and Our Neighbor’s Table. Additionally, the agency has supported Amesbury city endeavors, including the “Be a Buddy, Not a Bully” campaign, the annual Heart to Heart program, the Red Ribbon Safety Campaign and Relay for Life. Coastal Connection’s maker’s studio has also designed and built custom podiums for the city of Amesbury and the Amesbury Police Department.

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