After seven dry years, Orangetown facility to reopen with a new look
Published: 10:53 a.m. ET May 12, 2016 Updated: 6:08 p.m. ET May 15, 2016
“Another Memorial Day without the Tallman Mountain State Park pool open and it’s likely not to be open for many more years to come,” wrote William Procida in a May 27, 2011, Community View in The Journal News. “What a waste — a charming, beautiful pool with Hudson River views just sitting there, decaying, depriving area residents of its use and depriving taxpayers of its revenues.”
“Many more years to come” turned out to be Memorial Day 2016, when, if all goes according to plan, the Piermont financier will have turned his dream into sand. Actually, about $50,000 worth of sand, which will cover some 6,500 square feet of his new Tallman Beach and Pool Club.
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Last December, Billy Procida’s Tallman Beach and Pool Club LLC signed a 20-year lease with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission to reopen and manage the two pools.
Since then, some $750,000 has been spent to re-invent a facility built in the 1930s. According to manager John Alaimo, this has included:
- installing new pumps and filters for the main and kiddie pools, plus a fresh paint job and lifts to make them ADA-compliant
- creating a space for an outdoor kitchen and bar
- building a 200-foot retaining wall and landscaping the property to accentuate the Hudson River vista
- adding more than 6,000 square feet of beach; and redoing the locker rooms.
The buildings have been kept in their original style, including using wood from old benches.
The club has been selling memberships but day passes will be available, making it Orangetown’s first public swimming spot since the park commission drained Tallman’s pools in 2009. Procida said 175 memberships had been sold and he would cap the number at 200.
The club has a capacity of 400 and members will have first dibs.
“It’s never easy to mix the concept of membership but we couldn’t open without the members,” Procida said. “Without the members we couldn’t do anything.”
On Tuesday, the man once dubbed “The Boy who would be Trump” showed only a little of his mentor’s swagger as he watched the finishing touches being put on the club he’s pushed for so long.
“I haven’t pulled it off until the day it opens,” said Procida, citing the certificate of occupancy and other punch-list items that still were unfinished. “Then you have the satisfaction of the customer to deal with. Pulling it off will be Labor Day, when everybody had a great season and wants to re-up, that’s when you’re done.”
The public reaction has been positive. The club’s Facebook page has more than 860 followers, and a couple of members told me they’re eager to take their first dip.
Chris Smith said he had to go to the Jersey Shore or out to the Hamptons for a swim. Now he’d just have to drive from Pearl River to Sparkill.
“I am really excited,” said Smith, who bought a family membership with his wife. “I have watched the transformation on social media via the pictures they post. There is some buzz around the community.”
Jonathan Satin of Piermont, wife, Kim, and daughters Cameron and Hudson joined in February. His mother, also of Piermont, signed up as well.
“We have never belonged to a pool club before but thought this would be a great opportunity to meet new locals and enjoy cool amenities like music, yoga and comfort food,” Satin said. “We visited the construction site a few months ago and it looks like it is going to be a home run.”
Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart said the club’s opening was eagerly anticipated.
“A lot of people have always said we need more options for swimming,” said Stewart, who swam in the park pool before it closed. “The town doesn’t have a public pool … and private pools often have a waiting list.”
‘A priceless return’
Less than three weeks from the club’s targeted opening, Procida and his crew were still waiting for some signs and decorations to go up, beach furniture and ping-pong tables to arrive.
The 53-year-old financier has developed real-estate projects throughout the metropolitan area but has never tackled a crumbling pool complex in a state park.
“If I make money, God bless,” he said. “I’ve done something that has a priceless return. The amount of positive feedback we’ve gotten from this community, you could not put a price on.”
“Think of the alternative,” he said, motioning to the two acres looking out on the Piermont Marsh and Hudson River with the old and new Tappan Zee bridges in the background. “This abandoned and demolished. How terrible would that be.”
About the Tallman Beach and Pool Club
- Where: Tallman Mountain State Park, Sparkill
- The swimming: A 100 foot by 40 foot main pool; 30 foot by 40 foot kiddie pool
- What else is there: Roughly 6,500 square feet of beach sand; about 125 Adirondack chairs; the NoCo Beach Grill
- What it costs: memberships start at $600. Day rates will be around $10 with discounts for seniors and local volunteer organizations.
- When it opens: May 28 for members (pending final state approvals); early June for day visitors.
- Information: www.facebook.com/tallmanpool
Robert Brum is a columnist and editor of The Rockland Angle, a nightly email newsletter exclusively for Rockland County news, features and other essential information. To sign up for The Angle, visit lohud.com/newsletters, check the “Rockland Angle” box and submit your email address.