New Plan for Alamo Plaza, Released Last Night, Already Facing Criticism

The second master plan to 're-examine' Alamo Plaza was released Thursday night, and it was clear from the outset that this one will be every bit as controversial as the first master plan, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

Gone is the plexiglass wall that surrounded Alamo Plaza in the first plan.  Landscape Architect Doug Reed told the Alamo Citizens Advisory Committee at the Witte Museum his idea is to lower the Plaza 16 to 18 inches.

"We think there are several major steps we can take to create this space of reverence, and one is to lower the ground," Reed said.  "It is not a deep drop, it is about changing it just enough to differentiate it from the surface of the city, and make it a place that feels special and different."

Reed said lowering the entire Plaza would also allow visitors to understand when they are entering the location of the original Mission, and would also give them a feeling of the size and scope of the Alamo.

He says unlike the plexiglas walls, lowering Alamo Plaza would not block the view of the Alamo.

"It is important to realize that this was a space that was bounded, but we don't want to block people out."

He suggested trees surrounding the Plaza would also both deliniate the space of the original Mission, and would also block out the surrounding buildings.

Alamo Street would still be closed to vehicles, and there is a proposal to close a portion of Houston Street north of the Alamo as well, to enlarge Alamo Plaza.

The buildings to the west of Alamo Street, which now hose Ripley's Believe it or Not and other touristy attractions, would be turned into a 'World Class Museum.'

But it is the fate of the Cenotaph which caused the most uproar.  When Reed proposed moving the Cenotaph about 500 yards south, to near the Menger Hotel, the crowd started shouting 'No!'  

The previous plan was to move the Cenotaph all the way to the banks of the San Antonio River across from the Convention Center.

From the '10,000 years of history' that the previous plan said was important, the new plan is to focus on 300 years, from the founding of San Antonio, focusing on the battle, up to today.

Public hearings will be set on this plan over the coming several weeks.

“Feedback from the San Antonio community as well as all of Texas has been instrumental in developing this interpretive plan,” said Alamo CEO Douglass McDonald. “The ideas reflected in the plan capture the input of our the public as we collectively work to preserve and restore the Alamo with the goal of giving all of Texas a site to be proud of and enjoy every day.”

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