Gala to raise funds for memorial soccer field project in Bell Acres rescheduled for March

Gala to raise funds for memorial soccer field project in Bell Acres rescheduled for March

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  • January 19, 2023
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Organizers of a recreation gala hope the event will be a catalyst for raising funds for a matching state grant.

The Quaker Valley Recreation Association recently received approval for $500,000 through the state’s Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program.

Michael Riordan, development lead for the association’s capital campaign, said it is a dollar-for-dollar matching grant.

It’s for the Leo Moss Memorial Soccer Field project, an estimated $1.5 million to $2 million tribute to a legendary contributor of Quaker Valley athletics.

The project includes the installation of a 75-yard wide and 120-yard long artificial turf field and a practice field of about 30 yards by 30 yards.

The field will be dedicated in memory of the late Leo Moss, founder and coach of Sewickley Area Soccer.

It’s part of the Legacy Field Development at Bell Acres Park, an estimated 37-acre site at the intersection of Fern Hollow and Camp Meeting roads.

Quaker Valley School District owns the land and leases it to the association.

The association had a gala set for Oct. 16 at the Allegheny Country Club, 250 Country Club Road in Sewickley.

But association board member Mikaela Halaja said technical difficulties forced it to be rescheduled for 6 p.m. on March 4.

“Unfortunately, there was a technical issue with the ticket purchasing, and folks couldn’t purchase the tickets in the days leading up to the campaign,” she said. “We’re on a much better track now, and have some leadership in place that has really been effective in the planning and garnering of funds.”

Tickets are $45 per person. Admission includes heavy hors d’oeuvres and a cocktail. There will be a cash bar and live auctions.

The auction will feature paintings by a local artist, autographed memorabilia and other items of interest. Officials said winning bids are tax deductible contributions. Winners will be announced at the gala and recognized as donors.

“The itinerary is still the same,” Riordan said. “The difference between then and now is the state grant we were able to receive. (State RACP officials) are not just making grants and solely funding projects.

“They want to be side by side with whoever the entity is that they’re working with. … It’s both a great thing, but we also need to get the community excited and get them engaged and willing to step up and support it.”

Attorney Rob Vescio applied for the grant, which was also supported by state Sen. Devlin Robinson, R-37th, and state Rep. Valerie Gaydos, R-Allegheny.

Years in the making

The overall development is estimated at about $5 million including the memorial field, a lacrosse/soccer field, Little League baseball field, bike trail, playground and concessions stand.

The Quaker Valley Recreation Association has been planning the development since 2007 and has a 50-year lease with the district. The site now has a baseball and softball field.

It spent $2 million on improved grading and rain gardens, and has planted about 2,700 trees since 2013 with Tree Pittsburgh, the Boy Scouts, and school groups.

Halaja said that was all part of efforts to minimize water runoff into the Little Sewickley Creek watershed. However, the environmental projects drained funds raised over the years for the recreational upgrades.

QVRA raised about $175,000 the past couple years, including a $100,000 donation from Joel and Maria Swanson of Sewickley and contributions from Pittsburgh Pirates Charities.

The gala is expected to be a kickoff of a more active fundraising effort. About 200 to 300 people are expected to attend. Mailers were to be sent out to about 3,000 homes in the Quaker Valley School District area this month.

More information about the field project and to get tickets to the gala is available at

Those who can’t make the gala but wish to donate can send checks to Quaker Valley Recreation Facilities Development Foundation. Mail them to PO Box 385 Sewickley, PA 15143.

Michael DiVittorio is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Michael at 412-871-2367, or via Twitter .

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