By Chris Goldberg
Phillylacrosse.com, Posted 7/30/08
Thanks to lengthy fundraising efforts and many significant donations, a renovated lacrosse field with artificial turf is almost complete in West Chester.
By mid-September, the new Kelly Field will be ready for the West Chester Lacrosse League (WCCL). The field is part of a joint fundraising effort called the West Chester Area Sports Association (WCASA) “Fields for All Seasons” capital campaign.
The WCASA sports complex, located at Route 202 and Westtown Road, is home to the WCCL, the Little All-American Football Association (LAFA), and the West Chester United Soccer Club, as well as seven other leagues for youth baseball, softball and adult softball.
Two fields in the complex are being upgraded to artificial turf: Kelly Field (lacrosse and football) and Ciccarone Field (soccer). The soccer field should be complete for a Labor Day tournament in early September and the lacrosse-football field should be ready a week later.
Project chairperson Kevin McDonald, the assistant commissioner of the LAFA, said that $420,000 has been raised for the construction of the lacrosse-football field. Another $300,000 is still needed and is expected to be raised through various fundraising efforts, as well as loans.
Al Kelly, owner of Kelly’s Sports, made a significant donation for Kelly Field, and other businesses have donated funds. The WCCL also is raising money by selling pretzels and cheesecake and will hold a golf outing and a Beef and Beer event in the fall.
WCCL president Mike Bauer said community support has been essential to the project.
“The involvement for the fundraising comes from the fact we serve such a large community,” Bauer said. “Having two all-weather fields will allow us to do things all-year round.
“Right now, Kelly Field sits dormant six months of the year. We won’t have to do that anymore. The turf field was a project that kicked off a couple years ago to finish off a dream started many years ago by Mr. and Mrs. (Addy) Kelly.”
The WCASA is home to over 7,000 participants, aged 6 to 80. Three notable athletes who grew up playing in leagues hosted by the WCASA include pro lacrosse coach Paul Deniken, pro soccer player Kristina DeFerdinando and pro football player Matt Schaub.
Bauer said that both turf fields could be used for lacrosse or soccer when tournaments are held. He said that, with as many as 18 travel lacrosse teams in the league, more field space was needed.
McDonald said the manufacturer building the turf field, Sportsexe, made the turf fields at Baltimore Ravens Stadium and Johns Hopkins University. He also wanted to cite the donations of Denny Howell of D.L. Howell Associates, West Chester, which has done all the engineering services for free.