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

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VOL IX 1978

Tudor Holcomb passed away on Feb 11, 1978. He was highly respected and admired for his lifetime of giving and leading Granby. He was a town benefactor, state legislator, tobacco farmer and donor of land for Town Hall, the West Granby fire house, the West Granby Methodist Church, and the greatest gift of all, his 400-acre farm to UConn and ultimately, the Town of Granby.

Meals on Wheels arrived in Granby. Local volunteers were sought to deliver meals prepared in the McLean Home kitchen to Granby residents.

The Board of Selectmen approved an ordinance granting tax exemptions for residents installing solar energy systems within the following 15 years. 

Community fundraising and an auction helped move the one-room Cooley Schoolhouse from its original site at the corner of Cooley Road and East St. to the Salmon Brook Historical Society grounds. It was the only surviving 19th Century district school that had not been converted to a home or other use.

Superintendent Starble announced implementation of the new state law making immunizations mandatory for all Conn. public school students by Jan. 1, 1979 with suspension for noncompliance. 

William Smith became Granby’s new Chief Administrative Officer, beginning a career that would span four decades.

Over 600 citizens signed a petition stating library services were inadequate, revitalizing discussions for a new central library. The architectural plans from 1976 were still viable. A government grant bid had failed and a lack of town bonding prevented the earlier project from going forward. A committee was created to study the issue.

The DOT’s Center Intersection Improvement Plan was scheduled for spring of 1979. Years of promises, revisions and delayed funding were finally overcome. The “fix” for the center traffic nightmare that was delineated by three islands at the 202/10–189 intersection was going to happen. (We’ll revisit that “fix” sometime in the next year or so).

Large class sizes, space lost to Special Education programs and general crowding in Granby schools led BOE Chairman Vibert to suggest a study committee to identify needs and solutions that probably would not include redistricting.

VOL X 1979

As was the case year-after-year, the year started with pleas for residents to attend and contribute to the scheduled budget discussions and workshops. That year’s attendance was noteworthy; 100 attended the BOE hearing and about 50 commented at the BOS hearing.

A 400-acre development between Silver St. and Granville Road was proposed by Harold C. Law with the caveat that it would be developed slowly in three sections. A formal application would be submitted.

BOE and BOS budgets were cut before the 1979-80 budget of $4,706,272 was presented on May 7 to the Budget Town Meeting.

Mildred C. Allison and Carolyn C. Avery donated three acres of land near the center as the future site of a new firehouse. LAFD would build a new facility on the land, replacing the old, two-bay building directly across Routes 202/10.

In June, long lines of cars at gas stations were again a Center conundrum. How to serve customers without creating lines that snaked down Route 189 and sometimes onto Bank Street was discussed by gas station owners, Chief Algren, CAO Smith and selectmen. The plan they devised would ease the chaos created by the Governor restricting sales to even/odd days and limiting gallons sold to each customer. Coordinated morning/afternoon hours included Saturday mornings and gave each station a fair share of business.

Northwoods, phase one (Law development between Silver and Granville Roads) was approved along with its ponds, tennis courts, riding trails and horse paddock. Lots along Silver Street were the first of a proposed 150 lots on 350 acres.

The Center “road work” began. The carefully orchestrated plan, at a cost of $512,381, had a hoped-for completion date of Dec. 10, 1979.

BOS toured the Simsbury sewer disposal plant prior to signing a contract for Granby to connect to that facility. Project completion was projected to take 17–22 months from signing.

Energy conservation and financial help for low-income families caught in the energy crunch were discussed and implemented. Selectman Jones, CAO Smith and local citizens created a fuel-aid loan system to help families that had lost state assistance when new income limits were imposed.

Researched and complied byChris Levandowski