Freedom Park makes strides toward converting Navy Pier

The 5-acre park will transform the North Embarcadero space

Navy Pier in the Embarcadero in San Diego

A current look at Navy Pier.

Photo via Port of San Diego

The Port of San Diego and the USS Midway Museum are moving forward with plans to anchor a new park on Navy Pier on San Diego Bay’s North Embarcadero — a project that’s been in talks for 20+ years. Progress is being made, as the California Coastal Commission approved a Coastal Development Permit that’ll have the site saying ahoy to a new, $64.5 million park.

The permit allows construction to begin on Navy Pier, starting with the demolition of the headhouse structure at the pier’s entrance. Then, crews will perform necessary repairs underneath the pier before construction on the park can begin.

The project isn’t expected to be completed until 2028 and the Midway has proposed calling it “Freedom Park” — a nod to US veterans and San Diego’s military history, which will be incorporated throughout the 5-acre space.

So, what will you find in the new park? The space will be open to the general public, and some key features are likely to include:

  • Green space with views of San Diego Bay and the “Parade of Veterans Amphitheater”
  • Paths for walking and biking, plus benches and bike parking
  • Plants and trees for shade, including a garden that emphasizes plants native to California
  • Picnicking areas and play structures
  • Multiple monuments honoring the city’s military community

The final design is still in the proposal stage, so it’s likely to change, but it’ll maintain its goal of enhancing public coastal access.

Mac McLaughlin — president and CEO of the USS Midway Museum — said “this new park will not only be a major public gathering place on the bayfront, but will also be a proud tribute to the service and sacrifices of our military veterans.”

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