Pennywise Path housing named for Ted Morgan
Edgartown selectmen Tuesday approved a new name for the Pennywise Path affordable housing development and its main entrance road, in honor of Fred "Ted" B. Morgan Jr., the man who saw the project through to completion.
The 60-unit rental housing development, the Island's largest affordable housing project to date, will be called Morgan Woods, and the main entrance road will be Morgan Way, as recommended by the affordable housing committee.
The 85-year-old Mr. Morgan has a record of distinguished public service, but he has often rebuffed efforts to honor him for singular achievements. A former chairman of the affordable housing committee and a longtime advocate for affordable housing in Edgartown, Mr. Morgan told The Times Wednesday he "reluctantly conceded" to the new name.
Alan Gowell and Fred "Ted" Morgan stand in front of one the first modular units that arrived this summer. File photo by Ben Scott
"I think it's great," said Mr. Morgan, a former Edgartown selectman and former chairman of the school building committee, "but it takes a lot of people to get something accomplished. It's a team effort to get anything done and to do it right." He credited the voters of Edgartown for approving the project, the affordable housing committee, the selectmen and other town boards for supporting it through the approval process.
"I congratulate everyone involved," he said. He said he is very pleased with the quality of the development, which is being built on 12 acres of municipal land off 12th Street. The name change was necessary to avoid confusion with the existing street, Pennywise Path, committee chairman Alan Gowell told the selectmen. Pennywise Path does not connect to the new housing complex.
The three cul-de-sacs in Morgan Woods will be named English Oak Circle, Red Oak Circle and White Oak Circle.
The selectmen also appointed an ad hoc committee to approve the criteria for the housing applications. The first units at Morgan Woods are expected to be ready for occupancy in May, and all should be fully occupied by July, Mr. Gowell said.
The completion of the project at a time when other less ambitious projects struggle owes much to the indefatigable efforts of Mr. Morgan, who was involved with Pennywise Path from its genesis, and the support of Edgartown voters.
In 1998, Edgartown voters voted to authorize the town to purchase by eminent domain 175.7 acres of woodland between the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. The town completed the eminent domain purchase in 1999 and placed 118.7 acres of the land under a conservation restriction held by the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank.
The remaining 57 acres were set aside in two separate parcels, one on the north end and one in the southern corner of the preserve, for future municipal uses.
In 2001, voters at town meeting designated 12 acres of the southern parcel for affordable housing.
Mr. Morgan is still a member of the affordable housing committee, but stepped down as chairman last summer. His public service began early in life.
A native of Edgartown, at 19 years of age Mr. Morgan entered the Army during World War II and took part in the Normandy invasion as a member of the 505th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 82nd Airborne Division. After a military career, he retired from the Army as a lieutenant colonel.
Mr. Morgan began his career of elected public service as a member of the first Edgartown zoning board of appeals. He served on the Edgartown board of selectmen for 31 years.
Mr. Morgan has also served on various town and Island-wide committees and served as chairman of the Martha's Vineyard Hospital board.