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Staff photo by Sam Pearson
Empty land on the property of the Desert Discovery Center is planned to eventually be the site of a nature trail. The new Barstow Community Hospital is pictured in the distance Tuesday across Helen Runyon Drive. Community members are discussing ways that the two properties could be connected with a pedestrian path.

Group studying new pedestrian path

Walkway would connect new hospital, Desert Discovery Center

BARSTOW • A proposed walking path would connect the new Barstow Community Hospital building to the Desert Discovery Center, creating a pathway that some community members say would be a boon to the neighborhood.

Both facilities are in the midst of significant expansions. The new hospital is slated to open in November and the Desert Discovery Center recently reopened after completing the first stage of a five-year expansion project. That project will eventually add new exhibits, trails and an ampitheater to the museum.

Belinda Barbour, the city’s solid waste coordinator, said she has been working with the group and they planned to meet further with Bureau of Land Management officials and hospital representatives.

The hospital already planned to have a fitness trail at the back of the site, said Rose Beardshear, who works at the Bureau of Land Management in Barstow.

Beardshear said that staff at the Desert Discovery Center observed the new hospital taking shape across the street as they were making plans for their own outdoor area. When they heard the hospital would incorporate a fitness trail, they began reaching out to the hospital, Beardshear said.

The project is “in the very beginning stages,” Barbour said.

Barstow Community Hospital spokesperson John Rader said that the hospital was considering adding the fitness path, but had to work out the details with its general contractor. Fitness paths are a common element at some of the company’s other new hospitals, Rader said.

The Discovery Center plans to develop a quarter-mile loop trail on eight acres of open space behind its building, Beardshear said. Even linking the properties with something as simple as a crosswalk would be an improvement, she said.

That would create a corridor to the Discovery Center. Visitors could then cross Barstow Road to reach Dana Park and the Civic Center area. A possible walking path at the hospital also has the potential to connect to the adjacent Barstow Senior Center on Mountain View Avenue, Rader said.

“The general idea behind the whole thing is to get the community more active and promoting an active lifestyle,” Rader said.

Rader said the city may be able to apply for state grants for the project in the future.

Contact the writer:
(760) 256-4126 or

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