Out 'In Front of This'

Libby Day has been instrumental in transforming the former Naval Training Center (NTC) in San Diego into Liberty Station, an ambitious, award-winning mixed-use redevelopment that serves regional residents and attracts visitors worldwide.  

The Naval Training Center San Diego/Liberty Station Base Reuse Project involves the ongoing, public-private redevelopment of the former NTC, which was recommended for closure in 1993 and closed in 1997.  

Liberty Station celebrates San Diego’s rich maritime heritage and has revitalized the area by providing distinct districts for retail, commercial, nonprofit, educational, residential, hotel, office, arts, culture and open space, while adhering to strict historic preservation requirements. The project was awarded ADC’s Base Redevelopment Community Award in 2007.  

“The project wouldn’t have developed the way it has if she weren’t involved,” Erik Caldwell, San Diego’s director of economic development, said. “Without her participation, Liberty Station would have fallen by the wayside.” With Day scheduled to retire in June 2018, America’s Defense Communities asked her to look back at the community she helped build. 

"I'm a native San Diegan, born and raised here," Libby Day said. "To be able to see the Naval Training Center, which was important to the community as an active base transitioned into an active, thriving community, is probably the biggest thing I can take pride in." Day was called into a meeting about the project just days into her job with the city. Photo submitted.

"I've met people who trained at the NTC and are happy to come back with their families and share that part of their lives. They're surprised at what they see. I heard someone say, 'It didn't look this good when I was there!'" An arts and culture district with museums, galleries, movie theaters and other businesses now stand where barracks, classrooms and the base library once stood. Photo submitted.

"People recognize Liberty Station because of entertainment, restaurants and shopping, but it's its own community," Day said. "This was an early example of an 'urban village.'" The former commissary and mess hall are now Liberty Public Market. Photo submitted.

Once known as "The Grinder" because sailors were grinding out their daily activities (inset), this space is now called "The Promenade," an open, parklike space used for parties, concerts and outdoor movies in the summer. "When we were going through demolition, this place was a ghost town," Day said. "Now you can't find parking!" Photos submitted.

Day with Greg Block, communications director for Corky McMillin Companies, left, and her husband Tim. NTC Foundation President and CEO Lisa Johnson told ADC that when Day retires, people will miss her trademark hats. "She always has a cute sun hat on. That's something everyone knows about her." Photo submitted.

Libby Day

  • Project manager, Naval Training Center San Diego/Liberty Station Base Reuse Project
  • Assistant project manager, Naval Training Center San Diego/Liberty Station Base Reuse Project
  • Member, Association of Defense Communities Local Redevelopent Authority Directors Council's Outreach Committee
  • Board member, California Association of Enterprise Zones (CAEZ)
  • Legislative Committee member, CAEZ
  • Member, California Closed Military Base Coalition