Refurbished Gulfport Rec Center Reopens - - The News for South Mississippi

Refurbished Gulfport Rec Center Reopens

By Trang Pham-Bui - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - You can once again hear the sneakers hitting the hard court and the excitement of sinking a basket. It sounds like the city of Gulfport is bouncing back from Katrina.

"We know it's been along time coming, and everybody's been very patient with us," said David D'Aquilla, Assistant Director of the Gulfport Department of Leisure Services. "The public interest is out there, and we're just thrilled to get this thing open."

The popular Herbert Wilson Recreation Center on Hancock Avenue has undergone quite a transformation since Katrina damaged the roof and soaked the entire building.

"It was quite amazing," said D'Aquilla. "The roof, all the ceiling tiles, all the flooring tiles, basically everything that could be wet, was wet."

The once water-logged facility now boasts four refurbished racquet ball courts, a renovated multi-purpose room and kitchen, and freshly painted gym. James Nance and his three children were among the first to check-out the newly-restored rec center.

"I think it's immaculate. It's nice. The floors are beautiful, and it's a nice facility to come and just hang out," said Nance.

Before Katrina, this Gulfport family used to come to the center all the time to shoot hoops. Now, that fun, family tradition is back.

"They love sports, and they'll probably be doing this for a long time," said Nance.

And this Gulfport community has a place to gather and have a ball once again.

The storm repairs cost more than $1 million. Two other Gulfport recreation centers are also coming back. The Gaston Hewes facility is under construction on 28th Street, and the Gaston Point building on Mills Avenue is under renovation.

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