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Freedom Park: A San Diego Landmark in the Making

This week marks the groundbreaking for the highly anticipated Freedom Park at Navy Pier project adjacent to the USS Midway in San Diego. Partnering with the Port of San Diego and the USS Midway, RICK served as the lead consultant designing the 5.7-acre park, and our in-house teams provided civil, traffic, water resources, surveying/mapping, and landscape architecture services.


RICK team members were inspired by collaborating with visionary partners along the way: Freedom Park’s original concept came from Wimmer, Yamada, & Caughey, Triton Engineers provided marine and waterfront structural expertise, BSE Engineering provided electrical engineering expertise, and Ninyo & Moore oversaw demolition hazardous materials abatement. We are honored to work with so many experts and innovators and to be part of this landmark project that will serve as a haven for visitors and residents in San Diego for years to come.


“The USS Midway, the Port of San Diego, and all our consultant partners have come together to make this park the best it could be. Everyone has been motivated to transform this pier into something everybody can really be proud of.”  —Nick Dorner | Project Manager and Engineer of Record



Freedom Park will pay tribute to veterans and their families and will provide a place for visitors to enjoy views of the USS Midway and the San Diego Bay. It will house artistic and modern civic moments, display native plant material, and serve as a place for thousands to gather for events and ceremonies.

With collaboration between RICK and Gallagher and Associates, guests will be engulfed in veteran-themed, museum-quality exhibits offering the history of the pier, the USS Midway, a 100-foot-tall flagpole with a sculpture highlighting “Words of Freedom,” the “Footsteps to Freedom” (which are paver bands along the north promenade that provide inspiring quotes of historical military leaders), a statue of World War II veteran John Finn, and a Family Sacrifice Memorial. Along with these exhibits and park elements, the park will include a native garden, an artificial turf parade ground, an elevated grassy area, a restroom, a concession stand, a shade structure along the north promenade, porthole seats along the west end of the pier, as well as custom seat walls and benches throughout the extent of the park.

The end result will truly be one of a kind, and the uniqueness of the facility presented the project team with exciting challenges to design around.


“It’s a rare opportunity to be able to build a park on a pier on the West Coast, and that has brought a lot of fun challenges, because some of our go-to solutions don’t work on a site like this.”
—Anabell Cardenas-Viteri | Landscape Architecture Project Manager


From start to finish, the project team took on challenges as learning opportunities and met them with innovative solutions. For example, runoff water from the park is required to be treated on site before it drains into the San Diego Bay, so prefabricated biofiltration water quality structures were positioned in strategic locations throughout the site. Landscaping posed a challenge as well, with vertical and horizontal space limitations and the number of elements present on the site, which required constant collaboration with our partners.

After several years of work, the team is excited to begin demolition and to eventually be able to enjoy the park along with the community and their own friends and families.


“The best part about it is knowing how many people this will impact when the project is complete; over one million people visit the USS Midway every year, and now they’ll be able to enjoy the park too.

It’s also great to work on something I will be able to show my sons, so they can see what I’ve been working on for the past few years.”  —Nick Dorner


“I think it’s going to a great asset to the Port of San Diego. It’s wonderful to be working on the project and to collaborate with such visionary partners.”  —Anabell Cardenas-Viteri


Unique opportunities like Freedom Park are the types of projects that make us excited for the future of public spaces, and we are forever grateful to everyone who made this project possible. Construction is anticipated be completed in early 2028, so mark your calendars, San Diego!