San Diego expands efforts to enhance tourist attractions and highlight history.
SAN DIEGO—The Port of San Diego and USS Midway Museum have agreed to convert Navy Pier into a new public park expected to be called “Freedom Park” on San Diego Bay’s North Embarcadero.
On April 12, the Board of Port Commissioners approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that includes the Port’s commitment of $11.7 million in federal stimulus funding received via the American Rescue Plan Act.
“The Midway has agreed to contribute at least $30 million to the project. The Port $11.7 million in federal stimulus funds we’ve received,” said Brianne Page, Public Information Officer for the Port of San Diego. “The project plans call for the demolition of the headhouse on the pier, completion of pile improvements and pier reinforcements, as well as buildout of the park.”
In addition, the project’s plan calls for the buildout of the park with amenities reflecting San Diego’s military history, pedestrian walkways around and throughout the park, landscaping, benches, signage, restrooms, and parking. The total cost of the buildout of the park will be determined as the park’s design is solidified.
“Our agreement with the USS Midway Museum is a major milestone in delivering an exciting new public park – and improving public access – on the North Embarcadero,” said Chairman Dan Malcolm, Port of San Diego Board of Port Commissioners, in the press release from the Port of San Diego from April 13. “In collaboration with the Midway and the California Coastal Commission, we will create a better experience for all who visit our San Diego Bay waterfront.”
With the approval of the MOU, Port staff will continue to collaborate with the Midway and the California Coastal Commission on the details of the park’s design on the approximately 5.7-acre pier. The Port will process a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) with the California Coastal Commission when the schematic design is complete. The Port anticipates the issuance of the CDP in early 2024. Before the construction starts, the headhouse will be demolished, and pier structural improvements will be completed. The current timeline for park opening is early 2029.
The Port’s most visible and popular public waterfront is the North Embarcadero, considered San Diego’s “front porch.” Converting Navy Pier to a park will add to the various public amenities and development the Port has delivered in the North Embarcadero in recent years:
- Portside Pier with first-rate views of San Diego Bay from public viewing areas and four Brigantine restaurants – Brigantine Seafood & Oyster Bar, Miguel’s Cocina, Ketch Grill & Taps, and Portside Coffee & Gelato.
- BRIC is a lifestyle destination at Broadway and Pacific that includes the Intercontinental San Diego hotel, two Marriott hotels and restaurants, and retail.
- North Embarcadero Visionary Plan – improvements included Lane Field Park, which is dedicated to and named after the field where the original Pacific Coast League Padres played from 1936-to 1957; a widened public esplanade lined with lush jacaranda trees; iconic public art by internationally acclaimed artist Pae White incorporated into the pavilions, café building, entertainment and information centers, and even the public restroom building; Carnitas Snack Shack; the “Grand Hall” along West Broadway; and more.