YMCA Riverside breaks ground for new facility

YMCA Riverside breaks ground for new facility

Nearly all funds have been raised

All but $2 million of an estimated $21 million project has been raised after months of fundraising, leading to the groundbreaking of the new YMCA on the riverfront lawn of the current facility at 221 Riverside Avenue. It is expected to open in 12 to 16 months.

According to First Coast YMCA, the new three-story Y will be a dramatic, glass-fronted 71,054 square foot building overlooking the river, constructed using the latest standards of energy efficiency. It will rank among the best YMCA designs in the country and serve as an attractive destination for downtown. The existing Y will remain fully operational during
construction.
WinstonYMCA_03
Earlier in 2013, two anonymous donors contributed to the project to honor a well-known local civic leader and philanthropist, James H. Winston, a long-time friend of the organization and former chairman of the Board of Directors among various other leadership roles he’s played at the Y.

“I am pleased and honored today to offer a personal word of thanks to the generous and selfless donors who have named this extraordinary Y building for my family,” Winston said at the Dec. 4 groundbreaking. “I have been involved with this Y for over 50 years and it has nurtured and sustained my health for all of those years. I’ve always felt and feel more strongly now that the First Coast YMCA is a vital, important and relevant asset to our community and is part of what makes this a great city.”

A central focus of the new Y is on bringing youth development and healthy living programs to Riverside’s neighboring communities, such as North Riverside, Oakland and West Jacksonville, where the need is great. Oakland and North Riverside are part of Health Zone 1, which has the highest rates of heart disease mortality, diabetes mortality and homicide deaths in Duval County. West Jacksonville, only a number of blocks away, is not far behind. The Y plans to invest more than $1 million to improve the health and well-being of some of the area’s most distressed neighborhoods and will strategically provide programs that support the resolution of the educational achievement gap for First Coast kids across the next 10 years.
The fundraising campaign is co-chaired by Russell Newton, III and John Anderson. Other members of the cabinet include Ron Autry, Doug Baer, John D. Baker, Billy Ball, J.F. and Peggy Bryan, Carl Cannon, G. John Carey, Ceree Harden, Leerie Jenkins, Percy Rosenbloom and James Winston.  Leadership donors recognized at the groundbreaking include John D. Baker,

Leadership Donors with YMCA President and CEO Eric Mann and Mayor Alvin Brown

Leadership Donors with YMCA President and CEO Eric Mann and Mayor Alvin Brown

II, The Weaver Family Foundation Fund, Gilchrist Berg, Luther and Blanche Coggin, Florida Blue, Russell B. Newton, Jr., and Mr. and Mrs. Russell B. Newton, III.

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