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General Press Releases
Waterfront Development

Pepper Park Improvements Set to Begin Soon

Board of Port Commissioners Approves Construction Contract

The Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners has approved a construction contract for improvements in Pepper Park, a first step toward upgrading and expanding recreational amenities on the National City Bayfront that visitors and residents will cherish for years to come.

“As a Port of communities, we promised to enhance and transform Pepper Park and we are delivering,” said Chairman Frank Urtasun, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners. “This first phase will dramatically change and improve how the public uses and enjoys the park, and it’s just the beginning. The future phase will bring a bigger park for the National City Bayfront with even more for the community and visitors to experience and enjoy.”

Pepper Park is an approximately 5.2-acre park adjacent to Pier 32 Marina. Currently, the park features a boat launch ramp, picnic tables, restrooms, fishing pier, floating boat dock, playground equipment, lawn areas, and the Aquatic Center. The Pepper Park Phase 1 Improvements Project will include upgrades and new amenities in the park’s current footprint, including a new splash pad – the first in any park along San Diego Bay, a pirate-themed playground, a perched beach, an overlook/terrace, a hillside play area, as well as an additional picnic area, a new entry plaza, and new lighting, landscaping and hardscaping throughout the park.

At its June 18, 2024 meeting, the Board awarded an approximately $6.1 million contract to De La Fuente Construction and authorized an additional $1.2 million for construction administration and contingency, for a total construction cost of up to $7.35 million. Project construction is anticipated to get underway in August and be complete by the end of 2025.

For the project, the Port has designated $3.5 million in funding received via the American Rescue Plan Act and the State of California’s Coronavirus Fiscal Recovery Fund, plus another $2 million from the Port’s Balanced Capital Program, and $1.6 million in Other Capital Projects funding. Additionally, Austal USA, which is operating a new ship repair facility on the National City Bayfront, contributed $250,000.

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.  

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.

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.