Today, the First Coast YMCA, the University of Florida and UF Health announced their collaboration to bring the Y to Wildlight, a new town under development in Nassau County. As one of the nation’s most effective and enduring charitable organizations, the Y’s cause is to strengthen community. In the coming months, the Y will work closely with the University of Florida, UF Health and Wildlight developer Raydient Places + Properties to ensure the new Y provides a place for residents to nurture mind, body and spirit and to bridge gaps in community needs.
“The First Coast Y is dedicated to helping all Northeast Florida residents live their healthiest lives,” said YMCA of Florida’s First Coast president and CEO Eric K. Mann. “As a community carefully designed from the ground up to promote greater well-being, Wildlight is a natural fit for the Y. We are excited to combine our community-centered resources and healthy living innovations with the extensive medical capabilities from the University of Florida and UF Health to create a total wellness resource for Wildlight and effect meaningful, lasting impact across the region.”
While planning and design has yet to be finalized, the Wildlight Y is conceptualized to accommodate 25,000 square feet. Along with fitness equipment and group exercise studios to help members achieve goals, the new Y will feature an indoor track to increase movement for all ages. In addition, the Y will provide educational programs focused on making healthier choices, reclaiming good health and reducing chronic disease. A wide range of activities and group interest opportunities will also be offered to help adults and families build stronger bonds and become more connected to their community.
“From the very beginning, Wildlight was envisioned as a community that enhances the quality of life for every resident and community member,” said Charles Adams, vice president of community development for Raydient Places + Properties. “While we purposely designed Wildlight’s infrastructure and amenities to promote holistic health, we recognized the critical importance of partnering with nationally-recognized health and wellness organizations to bring their expertise to our community. We are thrilled that the First Coast Y is joining forces with UF and UF Health in Wildlight. We look forward to working together to positively impact the people who live, work and play here.”
This announcement builds on the already-established strategic health alliance between UF, UF Health and Raydient Places + Properties to create a national model for healthier communities. To bring this vision to life, UF and UF Health agreed to construct Wildlight’s first medical facility on Highway A1A, just off I-95, which will include urgent care staffed by emergency medicine faculty, primary care using a patient-centered model focused on prevention and early diagnosis, and an imaging center.
“Wellness is always at the center of our plans, in our hospitals and practices throughout Northeast Florida, so it only makes sense to include another outstanding organization dedicated to better health in the Wildlight collaboration,” said Leon L. Haley Jr., MD, MHSA, CEO of UF Health Jacksonville and dean of the University of Florida College of Medicine – Jacksonville. “We’re excited about the possibilities the collaboration with the First Coast YMCA and Raydient Places + Properties will bring to the residents and others in and around Nassau County.”
The new Y is expected to open in late 2019 and will be the second Y location in Nassau County. Additional programs and details will be announced in the coming months.
About the First Coast YMCA
In 2018, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast is celebrating its 110th anniversary of serving the Northeast Florida community through youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. For 110 years, YMCA of Florida’s First Coast has been providing men, women and children of all ages, and from all walks of life, opportunities to build stronger bonds, live healthy and become more engaged with their communities. Learn more: www.FirstCoastYMCA.org.
About the University of Florida
The University of Florida is a major, public, comprehensive, land-grant, research university. The state’s oldest and most comprehensive university, UF is among the nation’s most academically diverse public universities. UF traces its beginnings to a small seminary in 1853. It opened its doors in Gainesville in 1906 with 102 students. Today, it is one of the most comprehensive and academically diverse universities in the nation, with an enrollment of some 52,000 students annually. UF is home to 16 colleges and more than 170 research centers and institutes and UF offers nearly 300 graduate degree programs. Only five other universities nationwide have as many programs of study on one campus as the University of Florida.
UF has a long history of established programs in international education, research and service. It is one of only 17 public, land-grant universities that belong to the Association of American Universities, the higher-education organization comprising the top 62 public and private institutions in North America. UF is consistently ranked among the nation’s top universities. UF has nearly 5,000 faculty members with distinguished records in teaching, research and service, including 37 Eminent Scholar chairs and 42 faculty elections to the National Academy of Sciences, Engineering, the Institute of Medicine, or the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Awards include a Fields Medal, two Pulitzer Prizes, NASA’s top award for research, and the Smithsonian Institution’s conservation award.
About UF Health
UF Health is the Southeast’s most comprehensive academic health center. With main campuses in Gainesville and Jacksonville, UF Health includes six health colleges, nine research institutes and centers, two teaching hospitals, four specialty hospitals and a host of physician medical practices and outpatient services throughout North Central and Northeast Florida. Its mission is to promote health through outstanding and high-quality patient care, innovative and rigorous education in the health professions and biomedical sciences, and high-impact research across the spectrum of basic, translational and clinical investigation.
UF Health includes the UF colleges of Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing, Pharmacy, Public Health and Health Professions, and Veterinary Medicine, which has both a large animal hospital and a small animal hospital. The system also encompasses several UF research institutes and centers. The full spectrum of patient-care services are provided through UF Health Shands Hospital and UF Health Jacksonville, UF’s private, not-for-profit affiliates. UF Health Shands Hospital in Gainesville includes UF Health Shands Children’s Hospital and UF Health Shands Cancer Hospital. Two additional specialty hospitals, UF Health Shands Rehab Hospital and UF Health Shands Psychiatric Hospital, are also in Gainesville. UF Health Jacksonville and UF Health North Hospital are the system’s Northeast Florida hospitals. UF Health offers a network of outpatient rehabilitation centers, two home health agencies in Gainesville and Jacksonville, and more than 100 UF physician outpatient practices throughout North Central and Northeast Florida.
Wildlight is envisioned as a new town inspired by a character, culture and pattern of living that we call “Florida Lowcountry,” where play is a part of every day and the natural world is a natural part of life. The plan for Wildlight includes a mix of homes, townhomes and rental apartments together with shops and restaurants, a new elementary school and a system of trails and pathways intended to make it healthy and walkable and connect it all together. Our Phase 1 plan is flexible and currently designed for about 1,000 homes across about 260 acres plus nearly 350 acres of permanently preserved open space. Wildlight will offer comfortable and friendly Florida Lowcountry living 20 miles north of Jacksonville, just east of Interstate 95 on A1A, with easy access to both Amelia Island and the Jacksonville International Airport. Wildlight is being created by Raydient Places + Properties, a taxable subsidiary of Rayonier Inc., a real estate investment trust.