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Riford won’t move entrance

BY DAVE SCHWAB

Staff Writer

The Riford Center has opted not to relocate its front entrance to Bonair Street, a suggestion some had found objectionable.

“We’ve listened to the neighbors and we agree that the benefits of keeping the main entrance on the front outweigh the detriment to the neighbors of putting it on the side,” said Glen Rasmussen, newly elected chairman of the board of Friends of the Riford Center, a nonprofit that operates the La Jolla adult center. “However, we still are legally required to do an (Americans With Disabilities Act) entrance, so we’re trying to figure out where we can put that.”

Neighbors who had opposed the new entrance on grounds that it would shift foot and vehicular traffic onto a residential street and be disruptive, greeted the center’s latest pronouncement with cautious optimism.

“While we are encouraged that the center is moving in the right direction, we are yet to achieve a fully open and transparent dialogue between the center and the neighborhood,” said neighbor David Singer, an architect. “Residents would welcome a clearer statement from the Riford Center that they are no longer considering moving the front entrance to Bonair Street.”

Reacting to the Riford Center’s consideration of a separate accessible entrance on Bonair Street, Singer said a more cost-effective solution would be to upgrade the existing disabled entrance to meet code requirements.

“This would have minimal impact on the surrounding streetscape and would be a wise use of the public funds made available to the Riford through the Community Development Block Grant process,” he said.

The Riford board said it plans to accelerate the transformation of the center into a welcoming “clubhouse” for adults in the community. Renovation, which began with the new classroom kitchen, is continuing, to make the historic building more attractive.

Another Riford neighbor, Tricia Kaye, said she’s concerned about the center’s “new” direction. “There are other issues we have raised, such as their plans for hosting parties plus their huge plan for car parking,” she said. “We understand they feel they need to broaden their (membership) base. But it’s a question of how far that departs from the whole purpose of the center.”