City Official Grilled Over Alamo Plaza Redesign

On the day the Alamo was marking the 183 anniversary of the famous battle, a second Battle of the Alamo was underway in the Texas Legislature, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

When San Antonio Historic Preservation Director Shannon Miller appeared as a witnesses at a House Committee to update lawmakers on the status of the Alamo Plaza 're-imagining' effort, she was pounded by two Republican lawmakers over the plan to move the Cenotaph.

"That Cenotaph is an empty tomb, just like the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier," State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredericksburg) lectured Miller. "There are Cenotaphs all over the world, and they are there for a certain reason, to memorialize people who died, and they may not be there."

Biedermann and State Rep. Jonathan Stickland (R-Bedford) also challenged the basic theory behind moving the Cenotaph, that the 1940 era memorial doesn't fit into the plan to restore the footprint of Alamo Plaza more to how it appeared in March of 1836, to give visitors a better idea of how the battle was fought. The plan also includes closing Alamo and Houston Streets, and 'railing off' the plaza to separate it from other locations near the plaza.

Stickland also grilled Miller on the City's claim that the Cenotaph will be moved to the location in front of the Menger Hotel where it was intended to be installed in the first place.

Biedermann, who has introduced a bill to forbid the moving of the Cenotaph, and gave Miller a history lesson on why the Cenotaph exists.

"They put that there because its an empty tomb, because that's what 'cenotaph' means," he said. "It does not mean that's where they are buried, becasue they could not have been buries, and do you know why they were not buried? They weren't buried because they were dragged out by Santa Ana and burned, so there could not be any burials."

Biedermann also grilled Miller over the fact that Mayor Nirenberg did not appear at the hearing, nor did Land Commissioner George P. Bush.

"Our Committee is very disappointed that Texas GLO Commissioner Bush, and San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg declined our invitation to answer our public questions yesterday regarding Texans concerns with the Alamo Plan and instead sent others to try to speak for them. Certainly not the courage the defenders of the Alamo showed," he said.

The City is facing emotional backlash over plans to move the Cenotaph, which historic preservation experts say is structurally unsound and will need to be repairs, as well as new names of recently discovered Alamo defenders added.

The committee took no action on Biedermann's bill.

PHOTO: San Antonio Historic Preservation Director Shannon Miller appears before the House Land and Resource Management Committee


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