State Signs Off on Alamo Plan, but Controversy Builds

posted by Jim Forsyth - 

The long range, $300 million plan to 'reimagine the Alamo' is one step closer to becoming a reality today, as Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, whose office owns the Alamo, has signed off on the agreement approved by a citizens review committee, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The last signature needed to put the plan in motion is that of Mayor Nirenberg, and Bush is clearly hoping to prod the mayor into signing, releasing a photograph of the agreement with a 'sign here' sticker over the place where the mayor signs his name.

The Mayor has to sign because part of the agreement calls for Alamo Plaza, which is City property, to be leased to the GLO, which will head the reimagining effort.

"This plan will ensure a plan of consensus that will restore dignity and reverence to the original battlefield site of 1836," Bush said.

The plan calls for major renovations to the Alamo and Alamo Plaza, including expanding the Plaza from the current 1.6 acres to more the 12 acres, by closing Alamo, Houston, and Crockett Streets.  The 12 acre plaza would contain two parts, the Alamo and the footprint of the 18th Century mission, which would be the 'historic zone,' or 'open air museum,' and the area to the south, which would be the 'civic zone.'  The Cenotaph would be moved south to the 'civic zone' and the 'historic zone' would be encompassed by a railing.

The plan also calls for the three historic buildings on the west side of what is now Alamo Street to be studied for their suitability to house a 'world class museum' to contain the Phil Collins Collection and other artifacts.  If they are not, the buildings would be demolished, and new structures erected at that location to house the museum.

But pressure is building on Nirenberg not to finalize the deal.  

Several Republican lawmakers will rally at the Alamo today, demanding that the deal be redone.

They are upset with the plan to move the Cenotaph, and a plan that is part of the agreement that would give UNESCO, which has declares the Alamo and the Spanish Colonial Missions on the south side, the ability to 'monitor compliance' and 'prioritize the World Heritage Site nomination and designation.'

The influential San Antonio Conservation Society is also urging the Mayor to withhold his support, with President Susan Beavin telling KLRN-TV's 'On the Record' that the organization opposes any effort to tear down the historic buildings west of Alamo Street.

If Mayor Nirenberg gives his okay, work on the project could begin before the end of this year.  The plan is to have it completed by 2024, which is the 300th anniversary of the construction of the Alamo at the current site.

PHOTO: GENERAL LAND OFFICE

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