The Wait for Winston is Over!

By Beth Reese Cravey

James H. Winston, a Jacksonville civic leader, real estate developer and philanthropist, has been a YMCA devotee for 50 years.

The Y, he said, was “what we used to call gym and swim.”

But Friday he helped cut the ribbon to open the YMCA of Florida’s First Coast’s new flagship branch bearing his family name, which offers far more than a gym and a pool. The $21 million, 72,000-square-foot Riverside showplace will have programming for youth development, healthy living and social responsibility and be a hub for the area Y’s efforts to reduce chronic illnesses such as cancer, stroke, heart disease and diabetes, in a partnership with Baptist Health, Brooks Rehabilitation and Florida Blue.

“It’s going to have everything you can think of,” said Winston, 82, who has served the First Coast Y in various leadership roles, including chairman of the corporate board. “It’s probably not duplicated anywhere in the U.S. It is an honor to share my family name with this fabulous facility.”

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