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.