How Murtha’s Way got its name

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Photo by Cathy Wynne

Former Community Development Director Fran Armentano (rear left) and former Town Manager Bill Smith (rear right) join Bud Murtha’s family for a trip down memory lane. From l., son Steven, daughter Mary, his widow Shirley, daughter Susan. Daughter Cindy was unable to join the festivities.

Passersby who are new to town might wonder how Murtha’s Way at the new Ridgewood housing development behind Freshie’s cafe got its name. It is named for the late Bud Murtha, volunteer extraordinaire who was the chairman of the Municipal Complex Improvement Building Committee, which completed its work on time and under budget in 1998. He also was the driving force behind the acquisition of the property on which the new housing community is located. Here is how that came about.

In 2011, Granby became aware that the property at 83 Salmon Brook Street would soon become available for sale. It was being offered at the price of $90,000, and there were investors who would buy it and re-sell it to the town at a much higher price. Town Manager Bill Smith and then Development Commission chair Murtha were well aware of the importance of obtaining this property for the town. Directly opposite Floydville Road, it could complete a future four-way intersection and become the primary access for developments on the west side of Salmon Brook Street—an area of great potential for the town.

This opportunity presented itself at the height of late summer season, however, with many decision makers on vacation. The outcome was in jeopardy.  Murtha threw all his efforts behind the purchase,— motivating, and most likely annoying, the vacationers to move —the matter forward with haste. He even planned to buy it himself at one point — for re-sale to the town, of course. That got everyone’s attention, and the necessary boards and commissions quickly approved the funding and purchase of the property.

In 2012, in recognition of Murtha’s role in acquiring the property, the Development Commission recommended that any future road leading into the property carry his name. This recommendation was followed in the Ridgewood application and the road name became a requirement with the Planning and Zoning Commission’s approval. It became a reality in the spring of this year.

It was decided that instead of the more formal “Bud Murtha Road,” “Murtha’s Way” was a more accurate description of how the purchase of the property came about.