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General Press Releases
Waterfront Development

Pepper Park Improvements Project Moves Forward

Board of Port Commissioners Approves Coastal Development Permit

Pepper Park Phase 1 Improvements - Pirate Playground

Conceptual renderings are available here.

The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has approved a Coastal Development Permit for improvements to the existing Pepper Park, a significant step toward transforming Pepper Park into a resource that visitors and residents will cherish for years to come on the National City Bayfront.

“We have been working so hard to get to this day. As a result of community outreach on the design, there will be a splash pad for kids on hot days – the first splash pad in any park along San Diego Bay, new pirate-themed playground equipment, a perched beach, and more,” said Vice Chair Sandy Naranjo, National City’s appointee on the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “Pepper Park is where National City residents and visitors go to enjoy San Diego Bay and this project will enhance the park and give us even more to see, do, and experience in the park.”

Pepper Park is an approximately 5.2-acre park located on the National City Bayfront adjacent to Pier 32 Marina. Existing park amenities include a boat launch ramp, picnic tables, restrooms, fishing pier, floating boat dock, playground equipment, lawn areas, and the National City Aquatic Center.

This project will include improvements in the park’s current footprint, including a new “pirate themed” playground (conceptual rendering above); the addition of a splash pad, perched beach, overlook/terrace, and hillside play area; as well as an additional picnic area, a new entry plaza, and new landscaping and hardscaping throughout the park. A future 2.5-acre park expansion is contingent upon the availability of additional funding, as well as certification of the National City Balanced Land Use Plan (Balanced Plan) Port Master Plan Amendment by the California Coastal Commission.

The park improvements identified are a result of multiple rounds of public outreach between 2016 and 2022 resulting in a holistic design of the improvements to the existing park and the park expansion, ensuring a cohesive park space after implementation of the park expansion. The Port, parks design team KTUA, and public relations consultant Nuffer, Smith, Tucker led the award-winning community outreach efforts.  

Project construction is anticipated to get underway in early 2024 and be complete within 12-18 months.

Pepper Park and the area in and around Pier 32 Marina are located in the approximately 60-acre National City Marina District. The redesign and future expansion of Pepper Park is part of the National City Balanced Land Use Plan, commonly referred to as the “Balanced Plan,” which seeks to rebalance land uses through a collaborative partnership between the Port of San Diego, the City of National City, and business and community stakeholders.

A more detailed description of the proposed improvements and more information about the National City Balanced Land Use Plan can be found at

About THE Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego serves the people of California as a specially created district, balancing multiple uses on 34 miles along San Diego Bay spanning five cities. Collecting no tax dollars, the Port manages a diverse portfolio to generate revenues that support vital public services and amenities.

The Port champions Maritime, Waterfront Development, Public Safety, Experiences and Environment, all focused on enriching the relationship people and businesses have with our dynamic waterfront. From cargo and cruise terminals to hotels and restaurants, from marinas to museums, from 22 public parks to countless events, the Port contributes to the region’s prosperity and remarkable way of life on a daily basis.

About Port of San Diego Waterfront Development

Port of San Diego Waterfront Development contributes to the continuous prosperity of the local economy.

From Real Estate to Aquaculture and Blue Tech, the Port invests in major redevelopment and community infrastructure, so businesses in our region have the opportunity to stay competitive in the global marketplace.