Visiting the Granby Drummer archives: What happened in Granby in the early 70s?

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Photo by Chris Levandowski

Through the Civic Club’s efforts, Granby started recycling in 1971. Residents brought items to the parking lot of the Grand Union grocery store, now Granby Commons that houses Granby Village Health and Westfield Bank. By January 1972 Granby was a leader in recycling.

October – December 1970

The second Charter revision gave reporting responsibilities for the Town Clerk, Tax Collector and Chief of Police to the newly appointed Chief Administrative Officer (Town Manager) David Russell. The changes were approved in a November referendum as was a compulsory referendum to pass the town budget.

The BOS adopted regulations for parks and the open space area (now Salmon Brook Park).

The town library board presented recommendations for a central library in a new building near Town Hall.

A committee studied the possibility of high school regionalization with East Granby and Hartland for the second time.

Superintendent Pasquale E. Starble proposed reorganizing the Junior High School into a middle school in the old Memorial School building to include Grade 6.

The first issue of the Drummer was an 8.5×11-inch newsletter, published in October 1970.

January – December 1971

BOS and BOE were asked to keep gross increases to 5 or 6 percent. “… the town might be able to hold the existing mill rate of 56.745 if budget increases were kept to 5 or 6 percent.”

A conceptual development plan for the center presented by William Stewart included open spaces, an internal traffic-carrying road and hoped-for improvement of the state highway intersections.

The BOE postponed a decision on the proposed middle school until mid-June, leaving classes in place for 1971-72, to prepare curriculum, programs and administrative set-up. The proposed middle school opened in the original memorial building in 1972.

Three new boards and commissions were given formal status: Parks and Recreation Board, Development Commission and the Advisory Committee on the Environment. The Library Board increased to nine members.

CAO Russell’s BOS budget was presented still needing permanent funding of the new HS buildings. At $624,792, the budget was 14 percent above the previous year.

The combined BOS/BOE budget that totaled $2,224,990 was a 7 percent increase over the 1970-71 budget with a mill rate up 3.75 to 60.5 passed 546 to 430.

The Civic Club asked the BOS for assistance with its recycling project. The board furnished trucks and drivers for the June 19 pick up and asked the environmental advisory committee to consider the long-range implications of recycling. Regular town-wide recycling began when the BOS agreed to truck glass to Dayville, Conn. for $64 a trip. By January of 1972, Granby was leading most Conn. communities in recycling.

The late Gerry Palmer energetically participated in the early recycling efforts in Granby. File photo

First Selectman Neumann and CAO Russell went to New York City to establish a new bonding classification for Granby. Subsequently, six bond bids were opened and Schweichkart Co.’s low bid was accepted; an effective net rate of 5.5646 percent.

A third town referendum rejected a 5 percent increase in teacher salaries. At mediation, the GEA proposed a 6.2 percent increase including increments and the BOE wanted increments only, for a 2.7 percent increase overall. State arbitration began on Dec. 8 and recommended a 6.7 percent increase. BOE and GEA adopted the arbitration decision and a fourth town meeting was scheduled. GEA petitioned for a referendum. On Feb. 28 the referendum, with a 47 percent turnout, adopted the contract.

January – December 1972

At the Jan. 13 BOS meeting, the town’s first CAO David Russell presented his letter of resignation saying, “I feel my personal style of management and management philosophy are not suited to the town at this time.”

The State’s proposed realignment of Routes 189 and 20 around a larger green drew comments: It would “alleviate congestion on Route 10 caused by the closeness of the present multiple intersections of Routes 189, 10 and 20.”

A development plan for Granby center included an internal traffic-carrying road and hoped-for improvement of the state highway intersection. The 1971 plan never was implemented.

In February the advisory committee on the environment announced the creation of the Granby Land Trust. 

In May, 30-year Granby resident Donald Flannery was hired as the town’s new CAO replacing David Russell. His salary was set at $13,000.

BOS took under advisement the Parks and Recreation Board suggestion to name the open spaces area Salmon Brook Park.

The BOS announced an elderly housing development on donated land in the center of town. A steering committee sought $300,000 in funding from the Farmers Home Administration.

State Redistricting for representation in the Conn. General Assembly created two voting districts in Granby. District I created the 16th Assembly District, and District II, the 62nd Assembly District.

January – December 1973

In January, the Nixon administration’s FHA froze housing funding and endangered the elderly housing, but in February the FHA notified the Town Manager it had been approved.

A proposal to replace rural zoning with cluster zoning for an 87-house development on Loomis Street drew a disapproving standing-room-only crowd to a P&Z meeting.

Parks and Recreation voted to sponsor the second Granby Road Race.

In March, the BOS presented four capital projects costing between $500-600,000 to the BOF:
1. Correct drainage on Canton Road and at Canal and Hungary Rds. Possible replacement of a one-way bridge on East Street. 2. Develop a Center Plan to include shopping centers and drainage. 3. Purchase the old Powers Garage for a new town garage. 4. Develop the Open Space Area for expanded recreational use. These were separate line items on the budget ballot and the town’s first capital improvement bond issues. Bond issues had only been used for schools. All four items and the budget passed with strong support in May.

Wells Road, Kearns and Kelly Lane students competed to see who could collect the most gypsy moth eggs. Gypsy moth infestation was rambent throughout the region. The top winner at each school received a silver dollar.

Two applications for apartment or condo complexes in the center were turned down to allow P&Z to study traffic issues on Route 10 and town water and sewer capability. Applicants were asked to resubmit in one year.

In September, Selectmen named the Open Spaces Area “Salmon Brook Park.”

The Land Trust accepted its first gift of land from Mary Edwards; ten acres on Broad Hill Road in West Granby.

Applications for subdivisions on Case Street and Silver Street were approved with restrictions because of drainage issues.

Reverend Arthur Teale, pastor of the South Congregational Church, retired having served for 37 years. He, his wife Lillian and their children came to Granby on a “temporary assignment”. He also served as Chaplain to the State Supreme Court for 25 years.

The BOE voted to reject the use of Norman Mailer’s The Naked and the Dead for a GMHS elective course.

After new building permits were issued for a development started in 1958, P&Z considered accepting Basile and Hemlock Roads as town roads. The builder and CAO agreed upon improvements necessary for acceptance.

In November, the Redevelopment Agency presented a Center Development Plan to P&Z that would create a unified shopping center using eminent domain when necessary to obtain private properties and work with a contractor to build new commercial buildings. It sought permission to take the plan to a public hearing. P&Z scheduled the hearing for Dec. 6.

The Girls Field Hockey team became the first Granby Memorial High School team to win a State Title.

In 1973 the Girls Field Hockey Team led by Coach Dot Johnson became the first Granby Memorial High School team to win a state title. The team beat every school in the state. The game was held at the Yale Bowl with Granby beating Guilford 2-1. GMHS 1974 yearbook photo courtesy of Coach Johnson

Two residential developments totaling 100 new homes on Loomis Street and off Buttles Road near Canton Road were proposed to P&Z.

On Dec. 10, Power’s Chevrolet opened its new dealership south of the center where Stop and Shop and TJ Maxx are now located.

In December, the BOS heard a proposal for a center Historical District that would extend from the cemetery to the Abijah Rowe House on Salmon Brook St.

The BOS created a seven-member Environmental Board.

Next month: we continue with more headlines from the 1970s

Thank you, Granby, for supporting your hometown newspaper and each and every one who volunteered, contributed and advertised over the years to make this 50th celebration possible.