At the 2017 #DTJax River of Dreams Gala, we took the opportunity to present #DTJax Awards to the individuals and organizations who have made a positive impact on Downtown Jacksonville. The Downtown Project of the Year award recognizes a project that has significantly enhanced the economic revitalization of Downtown through the activation of underutilized resources, job creation or leading design practices.
Our 2017 winner is an organization that has been a presence in Downtown Jacksonville since 1908, when the YMCA opened on the corner of Laura and Duval streets to serve 12 members. This past August, the Y opened its newest facility in Downtown — one in the works for 25 years: the Winston Family YMCA on Riverside Avenue for its 6,500 members to much acclaim. The Y now has 14 membership facilities, one resident camp, one charter elementary school, 40 school-based child care sites, two facilities for people with development disabilities and two youth development campuses on the First Coast.
The new 72,000-square foot location is one of the best YMCA designs in the country and serves as an attraction destination for Downtown while providing important health and social services for Jacksonville residents of all backgrounds. The new family-friendly facility includes an indoor running track, a spiritual wellness center, a kids’ zone and an aquatic center. It also takes advantage of its premier location to offer spectacular views of the St. Johns River and a connection to the Northbank Riverwalk. The new Winston Family YMCA not only promotes a healthy Downtown, but connects diverse populations through community service and its focus on building a kid friendly facility has provided families with a place to go where there is something to do for everyone.
The Winston Family YMCA has made the Brooklyn neighborhood a better place to live and visit while providing fundamental services for the Downtown Jacksonville community. By choosing to invest in a new facility Downtown, the Y has given residents and tourists a new reason to visit the Downtown Riverwalk.