A former Westfield roadside attraction is attracting some newfound attention these days. Under new ownership, the Theater Motel is tapping into the rhythm of the Westfield community to grow its business.
Special rates and packages that coincide with local festivals have been a success and plans to stay open year round will bring even more opportunities to piggyback on local seasonal recreational visitors. The motel will be rolling out packages for fishermen and hunters this fall and winter. “The motel has traditionally been closed during the winter,” says manager Billy Singh. “But we hope to attract some of the seasonal visitors this year.”
Singh says that, since his family acquired the motel early this summer, the response has been very favorable. “The people have been wonderful,” says Singh. “You can tell folks really enjoy being here in Westfield and take pride in their town.” Singh also owns the Angola Motel in Angola, NY.
Built in the 1940’s, the Theater Motel was one of only a handful of motels across the country to have an onsite drive-in movie screen. Over the years, the motel screened hundreds of classic movies for the Westfield community and travelers alike. In 1984, the screen burned and the drive-in closed. Singh says that, while it is unlikely the screen will be rebuilt, he hopes to maintain the roadside Americana feel of the property.
Beyond extending the season, Singh says his family has big plans to breathe new life into the Route 20 landmark. A key element to those plans is the re-opening of the Starlight Diner on the property, which he expects will be open for business this fall. “We have someone interested in reopening the restaurant,” says Singh. “That will be a nice addition to the place.”
Throughout the summer, upgrades and renovations have been ongoing and Singh says those efforts will continue into next year. A new coat of paint and new furniture are among the short-term upgrades in the works. In the long-term, Singh envisions a miniature golf course and other recreational opportunities. “We want to get the word out,” says Singh. “We’ve got a rich history as well as all the modern conveniences.”
Sara F. Herrmann is a freelance writer and editor of www.westfieldny.com. She lives in Westfield with her husband Alan.