—— JOLEEN CACCIATORE—— Executive Director, Gainesville Sports Commission II have been a part of the Greater Gainesville area since accepting a job here in 2006. From the moment you start looking around, you realize this is a very young, active and energetic town. There are a wide variety of recreation leagues in the area, not to mention the many nature parks used for hiking and other outdoor activities. Alachua County truly is a place where nature, cultural and sports meet! The City of Gainesville and its sister cities have unique sporting and fitness facilities known within the state and throughout the nation. You and your family can find sports to play or watch in the Greater Gainesville area practically every day of the year. Of course Gainesville is best known as the home of the University of Florida, whose sporting traditions and successes need no further introduction (Go Gators!). The university’s top-notch championship venues ensure a great atmosphere for watching top college teams and athletes compete. Attending UF events is not just for students, and is a great value for a fun family outing. It’s one of the many perks of living in a college town. The Greater Gainesville area’s sporting culture isn’t simply limited to UF. The City of Alachua boasts the ever-growing-andmodernizing Hal Brady Recreation Center. The complex includes a gymnasium, multiple softball and baseball diamonds, soccer fields and football facilities, which are used for many youth sport leagues. The sport of archery has exploded in popularity in the area with the opening of the Easton Newberry Sports Complex as a designated Olympic development facility. It’s one of the best archery facilities in the nation. You can join a league or enjoy it recreationally with family and friends during the open archery times. The City of Newberry is also the home of Champions Park complex. It is the newest facility in the area and offers high level youth baseball and fast pitch softball play. This 16-field elite baseball complex hosts multiple regional and national tournaments each year with participants traveling from all over the country. The City of High Springs is home to the High Springs BMX, which organizes several BMX events and trains all ages of riders from fiveyear- olds and up. Families can stop by during the practice times and try the BMX track for free or become a member. During any day of the week, the Jonesville Park is a main spot for families in search of athletic activities, with soccer, tennis, disc golf and baseball facilities available. There are organized recreation leagues and competitive travel teams at all levels of play available for different ages. Wherever you live in the Greater Gainesville area, you will be able to find a place to go in this active and sports-loving community. Whether it is in downtown Gainesville jogging the new Depot Park or on a canoe in Poe Springs, there is a place for you and your family to enjoy. —— CHRIS MARHEFKA—— Founder and Owner, B3 Gym | Co-Founder, Eat the 80 First off, I am honored to speak on behalf of the fitness community for “Why Gainesville.” Having lived in Gainesville for over a decade now, I have come to understand and love what makes the Greater Gainesville area a unique and amazing place to live. The Gainesville area offers a delicate balance of breathtaking nature experiences, higher education, quirky culture, deep history and a booming business community. When it comes to health and fitness, there is no better place to be than Gainesville, Florida. On the University of Florida campus, you can exercise at one of the many state of the art facilities for students, faculty and staff including multiple fitness centers, lap pools, acres of athletic fields, even a skate park and sand volleyball! UF also boasts amazing medical facilities and research. The UF Sports Performance Center provides elite level athlete testing, accessible to the weekend warrior. Also on campus, the famous Ben Hill Griffin Football Stadium isn’t just for football games. Enter the stadium at almost any hour of the day and join the many people climbing the 90 flights of bleachers (“Gator Mountains.”) Head off campus and fitness is everywhere you look! With dozens of health clubs, gyms, studios and CrossFit Boxes, everyone can find a fitness home that meets their needs. There is spinning, rock climbing, yoga, kickboxing, martial arts, Bootcamp, Barre, CrossFit and personal trainers abound. It is no surprise Gainesville was ranked as the “the healthiest community in America” in 2003. If being active outside is more your style, the Greater Gainesville area will not disappoint. Walk the steps at Devil’s Millhopper, hike through Hogtown Creek trails, walk the La Chua trail at Paynes Prairie and run trails through San Felasco, Loblolly North or Sweet water Preserve. The entire Gainesville area is bike-friendly with dozens of on and off road trails. Bike Avenue connects much of downtown and campus, while the Hawthorne Rail Trail and Boulware Springs are must-do rides. If going off road is what you are looking for, the Rock Trail and San Felasco are your best bets in the Gainesville area or a short drive to Santos in Ocala. Even though we are technically a Swamp, the water is crystal clear for swimming, kayaking or paddle boarding at Devil’s Den, Ginnie, Blue or Poe Springs. Lake Santa Fe is the best lake in the area to express your fitness through skiing, wakeboarding, sailing, rowing or any other watersport. Lastly, if your fitness activities leave you a little too banged up, Gainesville has no shortage of health and wellness professionals due to UF, Santa Fe, the Florida School of Massage, and Palmer Chiropractic (Daytona.) Simply drive up 6th Street and you will see a massage therapist’s office in almost every building! Whether it be a running group, cycle team, triathlon club or CrossFit gym, the fitness community in Gainesville is incredibly welcoming and diverse. Being healthy and active, there was no better place than Gainesville for our family and to start our businesses! —— JOE CIRULLI—— Owner and President, Gainesville Health & Fitness It all started with a set of Mighty Mouse weights when I was nine years old and I have been hooked on health and fitness ever since. Fast forward 10 years and I found myself in Gainesville, Fla. visiting a friend and quickly fell in love with the city and the community. I knew I wanted to own a gym and now I knew it was to be in Gainesville. From the moment I arrived here I noticed the small community feel in a large university setting, giving Gainesville the best of both worlds. The people were nice, the geography beautiful, and, of course, there were no New York winters. Gainesville gave me the opportunity to be an entrepreneur in an industry that I love. As with any business, there were highs and lows, but the support of the business community, the residents and everyone around me, I was able to realize my dream of owning a fitness company, Gainesville Health & Fitness. I have worked all of my life, along with my staff, to inspire the Gainesville community to get fit and healthy. We come to work every day to think of ways to make GHF better so you can be better. We have just completed a four year, multi-million dollar renovation and expansion project to bring Gainesville the most innovative fitness trends. All of our focus and resources are committed to Gainesville for healthier individuals, families, companies and community. A health and fitness mindset is part of the Greater Gainesville culture; it’s the way we do things around here. There are many opportunities to stay active, including fitness facilities, walking and biking trails, parks, pools, courts, clubs, leagues, worksite wellness initiatives and activity-based events almost every weekend. There’s something for all ages. The Greater Gainesville region is where cool things happen from fitness and recreation, healthcare and agriculture to the arts. We are happy to be part of it.
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