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Meeting with Riford Center’s La Jolla neighbors opened some doors

A private meeting at the Riford Center last week between center officials and neighbors concerned plans to relocate entryway from the front to the side of the building proved productive and could lead to a broader community dialogue that considers traffic as well.

Both sides said they learned something from the face-to-face meeting, which they described as “productive.”

“It’s a city-owned building — we didn’t realize that,” said David Singer head of a focus group of facility neighbors who worry preliminary plans to relocate its main entrance from 6811 La Jolla Blvd. to Bonair Street might bring unwanted traffic impacts and a change to the neighborhood’s quiet, residential character. “We got a chance to talk about what the issues were from the community’s point of view. Positive things came from the meeting.”

La Jolla attorney Glen Rasmussen, recently elected president of the Riford board, agreed the neighbors’ meeting went well and could lead to greater cooperation — and understanding.

“We came up with a couple other proposed plans for getting disabled people in and out of the Riford,” he said. “Neighbors also suggested we make it more of an areawide discussion, not only about the Riford entryway but how to deal with traffic problems around Nautilus and La Jolla Boulevard to make that little pocket community a little more friendly to business and happier for residents.”

“We’re not committed to anything,” said Ron Jones, Riford’s executive director about the center’s redevelopment plans including possible entryway changes. “We’re looking at everything at this point.”

Switching the Riford entryway is proposed to make it Americans With Disabilities Act-compliant as required by law. Initially, they considered the Bonair side the best solution, given the slope of the land.