Rick Morton

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Granby Department of Public Works

Age: 59

Talk about how you came to be in this job here in Granby…

I grew up in Southington and worked there for a while for its DPW. After I got married my wife really wanted a place where she could have horses to ride. We were fortunate to be able to find seven acres of land in Granby in the year 2000. At that point my commute from Southington to Granby began to wear on me so one day I stopped into the DPW office in Granby and asked if they had any openings. It was serendipity because at that very time they had placed a newspaper ad describing a job opening. The secretary thought I was actually responding to that ad. Since my qualifications were strong, after two interviews I was hired in 2001.

What projects do you work on?

We are routinely involved in road construction, pothole repair, putting in drainage pipes, and paving. There are 94 miles of roads in Granby that need to be continually attended to. We also do extensive tree work, usually roadside trimming, and take care of all the public grounds such as cemeteries, two parks, town greens, and Holcomb Farm. 

In the winter it feels like a constant battle since there are lots of dying trees that line the roads that need to be cut back. Of course we also pre-treat roads before storms, plow and salt.

Since this is a town with a lot of trees, what are your memories from the “great October Storm”…

I was out plowing on East Street when that storm came through on October 29, 2011. Since the leaves were still on the trees and the snowfall went on for hours, heavy oak trees began falling and landing all over the roads. A tree came down behind me and the only option for me to get back into town was to head north on Rte. 10 and come back on Vining Hill Road. Unfortunately I was stuck there again for five hours until two guys with an all-wheel drive plow truck helped me out. This was an easy situation though, compared to one of our men who was trapped on Barn Door Hills Road for nine hours. A pay loader had to go up and lift the heavy trees and branches out of the way one by one so that he could drive through. 

The situation was especially dangerous for people in town because live wires were often brought down with the trees and you couldn’t really go out with a chain saw to help clean your street without serious risk. It took days to open the roads up and an entire year to get back to normal. There were cots at the senior center for people who couldn’t get to their houses. Most people were without power for nine days. 

Some power poles were actually snapping in half. Everyone had to wait for the power company to come and re-set the wires/poles.

How do you feel about living in the town of Granby?

I have lived here for 18 years and raised my family in this town. Coming from Southington, we all liked the small town atmosphere and the fact that there is a lot of preserved land. I know a lot of residents personally and like being able to meet and deal with the public here in Granby. My children are grown up now and both have chosen to remain in Connecticut. 

My wife and I are so fortunate to live near the Lost Acres Farm Store and look out at the surrounding hills. My wife is now a member of the Granby Horse Council. Although there was an old house on the land we have settled on, it had to be torn down and replaced. All major beams and woodwork had rotted and the walls literally had holes in them. We did put up a colonial style house in its place, however, that blends in with the history that is such a part of the town.

Best of all I have a job where there is a good deal of camaraderie amongst the workers. The people at the DPW are a great bunch and will help each other whenever the need arises.