Owner sees good times ahead after buying Memorytown USA
Jul 05 Filed under: Company News
July 05, 2012
By Michael Sadowski Pocono Record Writer
Memorytown USA was never dead. It only looked that way.
The view from Grange Road, which splits the Paradise Township property, was a vision of knee-high weeds, dilapidated cottages and the run-down general store that once served as a Poconos landmark at the 130-acre property.
Yet, beyond the weeds and practically invisible to traffic on the road, Memorytown’s tavern never closed.
“It was on life support,” said local developer Anthony Maula, who bought the property last week. “It had a weak pulse. But it wasn’t dead.”
Now Maula is in the midst of a complete renovation of the property that he wants to restore to its former glory when it was a Poconos tourism fixture.
The renovation will be done in three phases.
The tavern on the property’s pond comes first, then the cottages, then the store.
The tavern will stay open during the renovations. Already, the easy aesthetic improvements have been taken care of, like cutting the view-obscuring weeds.
“You couldn’t even see (the tavern) from the road,” Maula said.
The tavern’s deck will be renovated as will the pond and the outdoor facilities around it during the first phase.
There already is a commitment to host live entertainment, with local favorite The Who Knows Band booked to play July 14.
The Billy Frost Special Olympics benefit, a 40-year tradition at Memorytown, also is set for August.
Maula said the restaurant and tavern will be a place for locals and tourists, but especially families.
The pond likely will get paddle boats back and fishing will be allowed.
“There is a lot of tradition here as a family-type place,” said Gary Fitch, a consultant on the restoration. “We want to bring that back.”
Even though the 19 cottages, the 10-room motel and general store look run down from the outside, Maula said almost all of them can be saved because former owners Stephen and Patricia Howanitz had the foresight to put new roofs on all of the buildings.
Without those new roofs, he said, it would be doubtful the buildings could be saved.
There may be two cottages that have to be demolished, but everything else, he said, is salvageable.
Maula said he decided to buy the property because he’s encouraged by the uptick in the hospitality business in the Poconos.
“I think there’s been a resurgence,” he said. “And we want to focus on the local crowd.”