New YMCA opens in Brooklyn to serve diverse community

New YMCA opens in Brooklyn to serve diverse community
Cutting the ribbon at the new Winston Family YMCA Aug. 26 were Luther Coggin, Pat Geraghty, Mayor Lenny Curry, Rev. Dr. Stephen Goyer, Delores Barr Weaver, James Winston, Russell Newton, Eric Mann, John Anderson, and John Baker.

The Winston Family YMCA opened its doors with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Aug. 26 to much applause from nearly 500 well-wishers, supporters and members, many of whom sported “I survived Yates” T-shirts, poking fun at maintenance issues at the aging Yates Family YMCA.

The new $21 million flagship branch replaces the Yates Y, which served the community for almost seven decades.

“We would not be standing here without the generous contributions from each and every one of our donors who pledged to help us build a stronger and healthier First Coast,” said Eric Mann, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast president and CEO.

During his remarks, Mann revealed the names of two previously anonymous Visionary donors – Gilchrist Berg and John D. Baker II – who had contributed with the stipulation the center be named after civic leader and philanthropist James H. Winston, also a YMCA trustee and member for 50 years.

Winston, 82, recalled when the Y was primarily “a gym and a swim.” He was presented with a framed watercolor of the building which bears his name.

Additional Visionary donors – those who contributed $1 million or more – include Florida Blue, Luther and Blanche Coggin, Mr. and Mrs. Russell Newton Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Russell Newton III, and J. Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, who also funded the new state-of-the-art women’s locker room, complete with sauna and steam rooms, and a riverfront park. The Norcross Foundation Men’s Locker Room is also equipped with a sauna and steam room.

Mayor Lenny Curry, a YMCA member for many years, proclaimed Aug. 26, 2016 as Winston Family YMCA Day in Jacksonville.

The new Brooklyn-based branch will serve as a hub for the Y’s community-focused efforts to reduce chronic illnesses such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes. Through partnerships with Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation and Florida Blue, the Luther and Blanche Coggin Family Healthy Living Center offers a comprehensive range of programs to address health concerns of youth and adults.

The Winston Family YMCA is located on the same property as the existing Yates Family YMCA, but is closer to the river. The Yates Y, built in 1947, is now officially closed. The property is up for sale, but in the interim the building will be demolished and replaced with a parking lot for Winston Family YMCA members and visitors.

By Kate A. Hallock
Resident Community News

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