SportsEvents Magazine

JAN 2017

SportsEvents is edited for those who plan tournaments or other sports events.

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Page 22 of 67 January 2017 23 SPECIAL FEATURE: Awards & Recognition Issue FIND OUT WHAT MAKES THE AURORA AREA AN AMAZING SPORTS DESTINATION CALL PETE GARLOCK, DIRECTOR OF SALES: 630.256.3194 - PETE@ENJOYAURORA.COM OUTSTANDING FACILITIES. WORLD-CLASS ATTRACTIONS. JUST 40 MILES WEST OF CHICAGO. David D'Aquilla is quite familiar with the old saying "When it rains, it pours." So much so that as Leisure Services Director for the City of Gulfport, MS, the ability to recover from heavy rains has become one of his main selling points for the Gulfport Sportsplex. "Our goal is when you get here, you play," D'Aquilla said. "We designed the outfields perk up to eight inches of water an hour. Our infields can dry out and be ready for play in one-and-a-half hours even after heavy rain. "The same goes with the synthetic turf. As a coastal area, we get a lot of afternoon showers and boomers, and with the synthetic turf, even if we get a rainout, we have six fields that can be played on even after a heavy rain." The Gulfport Sportsplex is a 250-acre recreational complex with nine terraced baseball/softball fields and four international-size soccer fields. An $8.5 million expansion is planned for six baseball/ softball and two multiple-use fields for football and soccer. "We are looking at about a nine-month construction period for the expansion," he said. "If the weather stays good, we are looking at a late-fall completion. We are looking to go full bore with the new fields in Spring 2018." D'Aquilla has been in the field for 28 years, including 25 with the city of Gulfport. He was assistant director for 22 years and director for the past three. Over the years, he has seen plenty. "After Hurricane Katrina, we did a pretty big rebuild with facilities and hotels," he said. "So we have a lot of modern facilities. "We're very fortunate. We have eight miles of man-made beach. We have a casino industry. We have a beautiful location — a diamond in the rough. They can come get the beach experience and resort area attractions but we don't have the resort-area fees." While the area attractions keep visitors busy when they are not playing, D'Aquilla's staff makes sure events run smoothly. "Our staff does an outstanding job of making tournament promot- ers feel welcome," he said. "It's Southern hospitality. We've been pretty successful. We feel like with 40-plus events a year that's a pretty stout number." n David D'Aquilla Leisure Services Director City of Gulfport

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