BARSTOW • It was round two Thursday evening in the city's push to seek community input on ways Barstow could look nicer.

About 50 Barstow residents worked in small groups at the second of three "Barstow Beautiful" meetings to critique design elements presented by landscape architecture firm Lawrence R. Moss & Associates of Glendale. The city budgeted $50,000 in October to work with the firm.

At the first meeting Jan. 24, residents were asked to brainstorm area places that were either important or beautiful. Some places were placed in both categories.

After taking suggestions last month, the firm returned with images of various landscape design features like signage types and public artwork. Residents split into small groups and were asked to write feedback next to each image. Then each group gave a presentation explaining their views.

Barstow Councilman Tim Saenz said that his group found the photos uninspiring.

"It's all beautiful, but it's not Barstow," Saenz said.

Landscape Architect Robert Nava said the firm selected a variety of images and did not expect to get a completely positive reaction.

Some residents were concerned about the cost of a city beautification project or proposed that other issues be addressed first.

"If you have a good, beautiful facade and you're rotten inside, it doesn't matter," Kevin Maestas said.

Assistant City Manager Oliver Chi said the effort was not linked to a specific project, but was meant to come up with clearer guidelines for future developers and city projects. The city would only spend in ways that were fiscally prudent, Chi said.

Current aesthetic standards for developers are "not well-defined," Chi said, making it harder to establish a consistent look for the city. If it is easier for developers to understand the city's policies, it will be easier to promote future business and economic development, Chi said.

The next Barstow Beautiful meeting will be March 24 at 2 p.m. at the City Council chambers, in City Hall at 220 E. Mountain View St.

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