As the Texas General Land Office prepares to direct a re-imagining of Alamo Plaza at a potential cost of hundreds of millions of dollars, a new study shows what people really want is a few more trees on Alamo Plaza, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The market research firm H2R Associates questioned more than 2,000 people, from locals to visitors from close-in locations, to visitors from far-off locations, and says when asked what should be done to improve Alamo Plaza, 73% said 'providing more trees and shade on the site' is needed.
That was equal to the number of people who want 'a more reverent space around the Alamo where the public can fully understand the historic core and context of the site,' which was also favored by 73%.
68% want a state of the art museum to house Alamo artifacts, including the Phil Collins Collection, 69% want to 'reclaim and deliniate the footprint of the original battle site,' and 67% say the streets, including Alamo Street, should be closed.
Bryan Preston, who is a member of the Alamo Committee, says the controversial idea of moving the 1936 era Cenotaph has support as well.
"There is broad support for repairing the Cenotaph, but adding the names, and even relocating it," he said.
Less important to survey participants are 'give the Alamo a real entrance with a 'wow factor', with only 46% supporting that, and to remove commercial activities like Ripley's and Tomb Raider, which line the west side of Alamo Street. Only 50% said that was a top priority.
There are some differences in some categories between San Antonio residents and out of town visitors. For example, only 59% of locals want the streets closed, compared with 67% of the total survey, and 68% of Texas residents.2
3% of San Antonians say they strongly oppose removing the commercial businesses that line Alamo Street.
Many people decried a lack of changing activities which make them return to the Alamo, and a lack of variety in things to see and do at the Alamo as negatives.
Other negatives include a lack of interactive or immersive visitor activities, and a lack of use of technology to 'make the experience more engaging and interactive'
One common complaint was a lack of an opportunity to buy a ticket online and choose a specific time for a tour.
'The main reason why people come to the Alamo in the first place is a 'desire to learn about history,' with number two being 'a desire to provide my family with a memorable experience.'
99% of people surveyed had heard of the Alamo.
As to why people don't visit the Alamo, the number one reason is it is inconveniently located. Other say there are places in San Antonio they would prefer to visit, there aren't enough 'must sees,' at hte Alamo, and the things to do at the Alamo don't change very often.
One in five people who have visited Alamo Plaza say they never entered the Alamo.
"It is a case where we are on the right track, we are listening, and we are still making revisions," Preston said.