Expansion of Saltville Playground & Outdoor Learning Center 

Saltville, VA (October 17, 2016) – With over $150,000 in grant funds and organizational donations, the help of over 200 volunteers, and strong partnerships between many local organizations, an empty area next to Main Street and alongside the Salt Trail has become a busy playground and outdoor learning center.

The project began in the summer of 2014, and the initial phase of the playground was completed in June 2015. This year, the committee proceeded with the next phase of the project – the outdoor classroom – by installing locally-designed and hand-painted signs, adding more age-appropriate play options, and creating educational activities that embrace the town’s unique history.

The project continues to expand, thanks to partnerships between many local organizations, groups and individuals. On Thursday, the committee came together to announce details about the playground’s next steps for expansion.

“Today is a progress update of where we were, where we are, and where we will be,” says committee member George Owens, manager of Smyth County Healthy Communities Action Team. “When people come to this center, we hope they learn about the diverse environment and gain an appreciation of what all has transpired in the area of Saltville. We have invested a lot of time in this project, and we are quite excited about the continued growth of the facility in the next year. The area will include an outdoor amphitheater and picnic pavillion. In addition to the 2016 and 2017 expansion, we also hope to be able to, in the future, establish an outdoor bicycle course for young children.”

Owens states that the expansion is scheduled to be completed within the next year, and that possible future plans would include raised garden beds. “We’re creating an interactive community center for those of all ages to enjoy and be proud of.”



United Way of Southwest Virginia fights for the health, education, and financial stability of every person in Southwest Virginia by forging unlikely partnerships, finding new solutions to old problems, mobilizing the best resources, and inspiring individuals to create lasting change in the lives of over 350,000 residents from all walks of life. United Way of Southwest Virginia mobilizes thousands of people to give, advocate and volunteer across 5,860 square miles (approximately 15% of the state of Virginia) in the counties of Bland, Buchanan, Carroll, Dickenson, Giles, Grayson, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Washington, and Wise, and the cities of Galax and Norton. For more information about United Way of Southwest Virginia, visit netnswvarelief.wpengine.com.