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General Press Releases

Pepper Park Redesign Gets $250,000 Infusion from Austal USA

B-roll and high-resolution photos available here.

The Port of San Diego’s Pepper Park redesign and improvements budget has received a $250,000 infusion thanks to Austal USA, which is operating a new ship repair facility on the National City Bayfront. The Port has designated $3.85 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding toward the Pepper Park redesign and improvements to be completed by summer 2024. Austal USA’s contribution, presented to the Port at its May 5 Pepper Park design workshop, brings the current budget to approximately $4.1 million.

“Pepper Park is already a recreational gem on our San Diego Bay waterfront. Austal USA’s $250,000 gift, on top of what we’ve already budgeted for the redesign and enhancements, will truly help to make it sparkle,” said Commissioner Sandy Naranjo, Board of Port Commissioners. “Thank you to Austal USA and all in the community who are helping us transform Pepper Park into a resource that visitors and residents will cherish for years to come.”

“We are thrilled to make this donation to help transform this important part of the National City waterfront area,” said Austal USA President Rusty Murdaugh. “This event continues our proud tradition of partnership and giving as we further develop roots here in National City and in the wider San Diego community.”

“We look forward to growing the partnership with Austal USA through the Port of San Diego,” said National City Mayor Alejandra Sotelo Solis. “We are excited that through the leadership of our National City Port commissioner Sandy Naranjo, this partnership includes a local hire requirement, environmental justice component, and a financial commitment to our National City Balanced Plan! This multifaceted effort demonstrates Austal USA’s long-term commitment to our City, Port and region for economic development and environmental justice. Bienvenidos.”

As a Port of communities, the redesign of Pepper Park is a team effort between the community, stakeholders, and local leaders. The May 5 design workshop was the latest of several public outreach events at which the Port and KTUA have collected public input. KTUA, a landscape architecture firm with extensive urban park and waterfront design expertise, is managing design and outreach in close coordination with the Port.

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 2.5-acre expansion of Pepper Park is part of the National City Marina District 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.

Additional Background
In November 2021, the Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners approved a lease for Austal USA to operate a world-class ship repair facility on San Diego Bay along the National City waterfront. As part of their commitment to the waterfront and the community, Austal USA is investing in the region in a myriad of ways. In addition to their Pepper Park contribution, they’ve also pledged to create approximately 300 new, high paying jobs for the San Diego region, support local hiring practices, and establish training and apprenticeship opportunities for the local community. Plus, they are putting into practice sustainable, environmentally friendly operations to reduce emissions and improve air and water quality such as a new shore power system, solar panels, LED lighting, EV charging stations for employees and equipment, 100% conversion of diesel equipment to electric within two years, and stormwater containment systems. These measures align with the Port’s recently completed Maritime Clean Air Strategy, a strategic planning document to help the Port identify partners, projects, and initiatives to improve health through cleaner air while also supporting efficient and modern maritime operations.

San Diego Bay’s Working Waterfront is home to multiple shipbuilding, maintenance, and repair facilities, including three dry docks, that support the commercial and military sectors. These maritime industries are an integral part of our community, and vital to our overall economy as a powerful generator of sustaining jobs.

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 Experiences

Port of San Diego Experiences welcomes businesses, residents and visitors from across the globe to enjoy and prosper from our dynamic waterfront.

As a treasured destination, the Port provides unique opportunities to captivate visitors and ensure everyone is welcomed, connected and inspired by our beautiful waterfront.