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Neighbors air concerns over Riford Center’s plans

Preliminary plans by the Riford Center to relocate the La Jolla community center’s main entrance from the front of the facility on La Jolla Boulevard to quiet, residential Bonair Street on the side has riled neighbors.

Neighbors’ airing their concerns recently prompted center officials to call a private meeting with them on March 16 to discuss center plans and hear their views.

“The current entrance is on the main commercial route on La Jolla Boulevard, and they want to shift it onto a residential street mixing commercial and residential — which rarely happens and sets a precedent,” said Tricia Kaye, who lives adjacent to the facility.

“We want them to be good neighbors,” said another Bonair Street resident, architect David Singer. Singer said residents near the facility, several of whom are Riford members, were uninformed about the redevelopment plans and want to have input.

There are other issues involved, too, Singer said.

“Now they’re talking about renting it out for weddings and other get-togethers and putting events on and bringing in more pedestrian traffic,” he said. “The question is whether there’s a way to satisfy their needs and also not impinge on the neighborhood.”

La Jolla attorney Glen Rasmussen, vice president of the Riford Center’s board, said realigning the community center’s entryway is just an idea at this stage and is subject to change.

“We are completely open to the input of our immediate neighbors on where the main entrance should be and how parking should be controlled and allowed,” he said. “We intend to use every effort to make the facility a desirable part of the community.”

Rasmussen said switching the entryway from the front to the side of the building is proposed to make it compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act and that the best place to do that given the slope of the land the facility is on is on Bonair Street.

Erin Demorest from 1st District Councilwoman Sherri Lightner’s office said the city has awarded the Friends of the Riford Center, a 501c3 nonprofit, with a $207,000 Community Development Block Grant to construct an ADA-accessible entrance for the city-owned facility.