Larson: State Funding for Alamo Could 'Dissolve' if Cenotaph is Moved

posted by Jim Forsyth - 

Its not over 'til its over, and State Rep. Lyle Larson (R-San Antonio) is making it clear that the battle over whether to move the Alamo Cenotaph is far from over, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

In a letter to Mayor Ron Nirenberg, Larson hints that if the Alamo Master Plan continues to involve moving the Cenotaph from its location in front of the Alamo, state funding for the master plan may be in danger.

"We would hate to see the Legislature's financial commitment to the Alamo dissolve if the Cenotaph is moved," Larson writes bluntly.

The Master Plan approved on Tuesday calls for moving the Cenotaph out of the 'Outdoor Museum' portion of the newly expanded 12 acre Alamo Plaza, into the 'Civic Space' portion.  The exact new location of the Cenotaph is not noted in the final report, but the most likely landing spot is about 500 feet south of where it currently stands, near the Menger Hotel.

The argument of the planners is the Cenotaph, which was built in the 1930s to mark the 100th anniversary of the 1836 battle, is not historic, and does not belong in the designated historical site, which will include museums, the Alamo itself, the Long Barracks, and the redeliniated footprint of the old Alamo Mission as it stood during the battle.

Ironically, the opinion in the late 1830s was the Cenotaph should not be installed directly in front of the Alamo, where it now stands, and one of the proposed locations for it was, ironically, near the Alamo Bandstand, which is not far from where the Master Plan Committee recommends it be moved.

But Larson says supporters of the Cenotaph have made their voices heard loud and clear.

"Many of the members of the Legislature have heard from constituents who disagree with the concept of moving the Cenotaph," he writes.

Larson says the Cenotaph is 'an important part of the cultural landscape,' and cites the National Park Service's decision not to remove early 20th Century monuments which now dot the Gettysburg Battlefield in Pennsylvania.  Many people involved in the Alamo 're-imagining' process have cited Gettysburg as a model for what they would like Alamo Plaza to become.

It is highly unlikely that the massive plan to renovate Alamo Plaza could continue without the active support of the Legislature, which has already committed $100 million to the project and is likely to commit to more in the 2019 session.  The entire cost of the project has been estimated at $300 million.

The Texas General Land Office, which owns the Alamo, has indicated support for the Master Plan as approved on Tuesday, which includes moving the Cenotaph, but the GLO, obviously, relies on the Legislature for its funding.

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