PIERMONT, N.Y. -- Billy Procida of Piermont just couldn't stand having the pools at the Tallman Mountain State Park sit empty for another year after spending years there with his own family.
"The government just kept cutting the budget until there was nothing left to run the pools with, much less give them a makeover. It was such a shame; the park is a beautiful national treasure right in our backyard," Procida said.
So with a spare million, Procida worked a 20-year lease deal with the Palisades Interstate Park Commission and decided to do the work himself, with the help of all local businesses.
The gruff local who says he cares about his town and the people in it, owns Procida Funding and said he decided to put up the money himself so residents could enjoy the Piermont Marsh and the Hudson River while lounging on the new sand beach he had installed.
"Man, you can grab a Bloody Mary and a chair and just enjoy the view, take a yoga class on the beach, take a hike or even a swim," he said.
He has also hired Northern Comfort Catering to open a full-time restaurant and bar (NoCo) at the park to make it a "go-to" destination for everyone from businesspeople looking to relax to families, as well as a spot for special events.
Memberships to pool and club are $600 for a single, $750 for a couple and $975 for a family. The price includes an Empire pass, for admission to other parks throughout the state. He figures day rates will run around $10, with discounts for seniors.
But first, he needs to get the pools finished in time for Memorial Day.
"We only put this deal together in December, but we are getting there, and I will make sure it's done," he said. "I can't wait for the residents to see this place with the new pools and the sand beach and the restaurant. It's going to be great."