OPINION: Changes at Riford improve quality of life

By The Board of Directors
Friends of the Riford Center

The Friends of the Riford Center will upgrade the main entrance of the Riford Center to make it more attractive, welcoming, and compliant with current ADA requirements. The Riford will also create, following the recommendation of the San Diego City Disability Services Office in June 2009, a single-door grade-level entrance/egress on Bonair Street. The Board of Directors has sent the City a revised and final scope of work and budget so that this important public access project may proceed.

We believe that these improvements, funded by a Community Development Block Grant through the City of San Diego and the sponsorship of Council member Sherri Lightner, will improve the quality of life of elderly and disabled persons in our community by allowing them easier access to the Riford Center. It will also provide an important second grade-level egress from the facility in case of emergency. The proposed improvements fall within the budget afforded by the grant.

Over the past year we have thoroughly evaluated alternatives for an ADA entrance and agreed that this is the only feasible alternative that falls within the budget and satisfies safety concerns. The improvements at the main entry and lobby, together with the new single-door side entrance, will be used and greatly appreciated by our mobility-challenged members and guests. The side entrance will have only an ADA sign as is required by code, and will be landscaped attractively. The redesigned main entry will update the appearance of the Center and will be very welcoming and accessible to our community. Design input on the appearance of the front entrance is currently being provided pro bono by several prominent architects.

The architectural work will begin soon and the project is expected to be completed within six months. The Riford Center will remain open during the two construction projects.

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Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=2667

Posted by Halie Johnson on Oct 8, 2010. Filed under News, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

1 Comment for “OPINION: Changes at Riford improve quality of life”

  1. Tricia Kaye

    Neighborhood comments on this were published in the La Jolla Light the following week (Oct 14), but due to system upgrade they are not available on the web site:

    Riford Center continues to ignore neighborhood concerns
    By Tricia Kaye for Bonair St neighborsof the Riford Center

    On Thursday October 7, neighbors on Bonair St were shocked to read in the La Jolla Light about final plans to install a new entryway on their street, despite previous understandings to the contrary. The plans are to be funded by a $207,000 Community Development Block Grant – these federal funds are administered by the City for the purpose of upgrading access for disabled persons in accordance with the “Americans with Disabilities Act”. The ADA promotes same access to buildings, not separate entrances for individuals with mobility challenges.

    An upgrade best furthering goals of the ADA would require installation of a lift located at the current front door – this simple modification to the existing building would uphold the spirit of federal law and would also preserve the surrounding area, a quiet residential street. However the Riford Board favor another option claiming that the lift option has been ruled out because of budget constraints. But the Riford has yet to explain why a $32,000 lift cannot fit within the $207,000 budget and has yet to respond to neighbors’ repeated requests for a copy of the plans and proposed budget.

    The Board have developed their proposal behind closed doors, and have submitted it to the City and the LJ Light by stealth. This begs the question – is their primary purpose simply to dip into a substantial public fund to achieve a shiny new entrance to meet a new audience, whilst providing a cheap solution for disabled access around the corner.

    The final decision is now in the hands of the City – will they simply give the green light to a proposal that is severely flawed, all the while using considerable tax payer funds.
    We call upon Councilwoman Lightner to ensure that the federal money is spent properly and to help preserve La Jolla’s quiet residential neighbourhood values.

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