Another roadblock has been added to the increasingly imperiled $450 million effort to 're-imagine Alamo Plaza,' News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
A heritage group called the 'Alamo Defenders Descendants Association' has filed a lawsuit against the General Land Office, demanding that the renovation of the plaza be slowed down so more input can be received, and also demanding that plans to move the Cenotaph 500 feet south to in front of the Menger Hotel be scrapped.
This joins a lawsuit filed by a Native American group which claims that the project is desecrating the cemetery which is the Alamo Plaza, and a decision by an association to designate the Woolworth Building as a historic structure and demand its preservation. Part of the plan for the project is to either demolish the Woolworth Building, or renovate it to house the 'world class museum' to contain the Phil Collins Collection of Alamo argifacts.
The Land Office blasted the lawsuit.
"This a yet another ill-intentioned attempt, at taxpayer expense, to bring the Alamo Plan and restoration of the 1836 Battlefield to a full stop,” the Land Office said in a statement. “Further delays put critical restoration of the sole remaining structures from the 1836 battle, the Alamo Church and Long Barrack, at risk. Let’s be clear-the Alamo belongs to the people of Texas, not one particular interest group or another. The GLO remains fully committed to implementing the Alamo Plan as tasked by the Texas Legislature. It’s time to put the Alamo first.”
A major portion of the renovation project is to make major and badly needed repairs to the Alamo church, the Long Barrack, and other historic structures on the property.
The Native American group says not enough is being done to identify and preserve estimated more than one thousand human bodies which were buried on the Alamo groups in the century before the battle, which it was a mission church dedicated to converting Native Americans to Catholicism. The people buried there include Native Americans, Spanish soldiers, and early settlers of San Antonio, along with, potentially, defenders who died in the 1836 battle.
The Woolworth Building is important because it is revered by civil rights groups as the site of the first organized, peaceful integration of a lunch counter in the old Confederacy, in March of 1960. There has been talk of renovating the old Woolworth lunch counter as a museum or as an active lunch room, and making the building into a monument to those who fought in the Civil Rights era.