Is Alamo Plaza a 'Cemetery?'

In the latest twist in the lengthy debate over the future of Alamo Plaza, two separate organizations are asking the state to designate the Plaza as a 'cemetery,' which includes specific land use restrictions, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

The Texas General Land Office is asking for the designation on behalf of three people who are known to have been buried on the grounds of the Mission San Antonio de Valero in the hundred years before the 1836 battle. The GLO says it knows the names of these individuals, and their grave sites deserve the came protection as any other grave location.

A Native American group is asking that a larger area around the old mission be granted cemetery designation, on behalf of potentially hundreds of Native Americans who are buried on the grounds. A debate over the requests by Native American groups for cemetery designation helped kill a previous renovation plan in the early 1990s, but it did succeed in closing a road which used to run right in front of the main entrance to the Alamo, after remains were found in the area.

While neither request is expected to have any impact on the ongoing $400 million Alamo Plaza 're-imagining' project, it does shed light on the role the Alamo Mission played in the development of early San Antonio.

In the 18th Century, churches routinely included burial grounds, with many people even being buried inside the church itself. Since many of the early graves in the area around the Alamo have been lost, it is conceivable that the entire area could be a cemetery.

Native American groups have long complained that the bodies of their ancestors are regularly being trampled on by raspa vendors and tour buses. The 're-imaging' plan contians provisions that allow for the recognition and respect of the graves of individuals which are known to be buried on the property, including the potential remains of Mexican soldiers who would have been buried on the battlefield following Santa Ana's victory.

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