The Port of San Diego’s plans to improve Pepper Park got a boost this week thanks to a $250,000 gift from Austal USA, which has opened a new ship repair facility on the National City waterfront.
The port had already budgeted $3.85 million from the American Rescue Plan Act for improvements to be completed by summer 2024. The new gift increases the total budget to $4.1 million.
“Austal USA is thrilled to contribute to this community improvement project,” said President Rusty Murdaugh. “We are relatively new to the Port of San Diego waterfront, but we recognize that strong community partnerships are the key to success and we are excited to play such an important role in the future of Pepper Park.”
The Australian company, which builds the trimaran variant of the Navy’s littoral combat ships, recently secured long-term leases for a 15-acre ship repair facility adjacent to Naval Base San Diego.
Austal plans to build a drydock to repair small surface combatants and similar sized ships for the Navy and Coast Guard.
“We look forward to growing the partnership with Austal USA,” said National City Mayor Mayor Alejandra Sotelo-Solis. “This multifaceted effort demonstrates Austal USA’s long-term commitment to our city, port and region for economic development and environmental justice.”
Named after prominent National City businessman and civic leader Leonard Pepper, the 5.5-acre park adjoins the Sweetwater Channel and offers play equipment, a boat launching ramp and fishing pier.