GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - The Gulfport Sportsplex is now entering its 13th year. And it was always the dream of the director of the Department of Leisure Services to build a facility for both local and national tournaments.
George DeCoux saw that dream become a reality in the year 2000.
DeCoux and his assistant, David D'Aquilla, were there from the very beginning.
"Our first four years were going very well," D'Aquilla told WLOX News. "But we had Katrina in 2005, and after the hurricane, it took some time to get folks to come back down here."
D'Aquilla is still with the city, although DeCoux retired years ago.
After the coast finally began recovering from Katrina, the massive oil spilled happened in the Gulf. It left a lot of people around the country with the mistaken impression that the Mississippi Coast was covered in oil.
"Because of those two natural disasters, and the after effects, we have been rebuilding for years now," D'Aquilla said.
Despite that, the sportsplex has been getting its share of tournaments. But now, 2013 looks like it will be a tremendous year. The sportsplex should host about 2,400 teams this year. That means literally thousands of people will spend their money at our restaurants, shop at our stores, and gamble at our casino's. Of course, those people will also need somewhere to stay. Most will fill the rooms at the hotels and motels throughout the coast.
The economic impact is well into the millions of dollars.
D'Aquilla and the sportsplex's director, Rusty Rammage, have a feeling of pride when they look around the facility. If you have you have been there before, you can understand why. It is a beautiful facility. Rammage and his crew have done an outstanding job.
Best of all, it is clear that the sportsplex, is only going to get better.