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Mayor recounts the past Allison K. Sampite | Sat, Oct 15 2011 12:00 PM

In his annual State of the City address, National Mayor Ron Morrison treated the audience to a cinematic spoof of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol."

In the 20-minute film, Morrison was visited by the ghost of the past and together they focused on the city's progress for the last five years.

Accomplishments included the expansion of Plaza Bonita mall, which started in 2007 and cost $130 million to complete, adding several new restaurants and an AMC 20 theater.

Morrison received generous applause when he said Nordstrom Rack will open a store in the mall at the end of this month.

The mayor also spoke about Parks and Recreation in the city, which will add a new sports complex at El Toyon Park, slated to break ground Nov. 1.

Morrison said another priority for the city has been to build better roads on city streets. In the last four years, the city has spent $12 million on street work and will spend another $3 million this summer to fix potholes and add new asphalt and sidewalks.

As far as newer projects are concerned, Morrison presented the city's progress on the National City Marina, which he says gives the city its own beach located at Pier 32.

"A lot of people still don't know about the marina," he said. "But it's not because we've kept it a secret - more people are finding out about it all the time."

One project that was completed this year was the reconstruction of Sweetwater High School through Prop. O bond money. The architecture reverted back to its original design of a three-story building with a modern twist.

However, despite these accomplishments, Morrison said there is room for improvement.

Along the city's bayside, Morrison said the area needs more love and that the city is working closely with the Port of San Diego and the marine terminal to create projects that will benefit residents.

"We're the only city in the state that doesn't have bayfront access," he said. "The port is the one area we have more room for as far as growth."

National City Councilman Luis Natividad said there's no question that jobs are the number one priority for the city.

"Everything we do should be geared toward getting more jobs for the citizens of the city," he said.

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