After years of sometimes divisive debate, Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush this afternoon signed off on an agreement to radically 're-imagine' Alamo Plaza and much of the east side of downtown, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
"A master plan that will restore the original battlefield of 1836, that will restore deference, reference and dignity to the revolutionaries who sacrificed everything for ideals like liberty and freedom," Bush said.
The agreement includes what is expected to be the closing of several streets around the Alamo, expanding Alamo Plaza from about 4 acres to 12, cordoning off Alamo Plaza to recreate the grounds of the 1836 mission, and to establish a 'world class museum,' possibly in the historic buildings which are now west of Alamo Street.
It also calls for moving the 1939 Cenotaph about 500 feet south to in front of the Menger Hotel, out of the 'historic district' and into the 'public district' of Alamo Plaza.
"This is not the end of the process," Bush said. "There will still be votes at City Hall on street closures, and to deal with the immediate needs of the church and the Long Barracks," Bush said.
Nirenberg says the agreement calls for honoring all people who lived at the Alamo site, from the Mission Indians of the 1730s, to the builders of today's San Antonio.
The debate over reimagining Alamo Plaza has been heated, with opposition growing to many parts of it, including street closures and, especially, moving the Cenotaph.
"Its time now for all Texans to come together," Bush said. "Regardless of our background, we've had our say, and now is time to move forward with the master plan."
The San Antonio City Council still has to vote on an agreement to lease Alamo Plaza, which is owned by the city, to the state, which owns the Alamo.
There is talk that actual work on the $300 million renovation plan can begin in the next several months. The plan is to have it completed by 2024, which is the 300th anniversary of the creation of Mission San Antonio de Valero.