Alamo Plan Heads to Executive Committee, City Council Vote

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Designers have finalized a proposal for the multimillion-dollar Alamo Plaza redevelopment that will start making its way through different ranks of authority this week. That process started with the Alamo Citizen Advisory Committee meeting Monday evening where the latest preliminary project renderings were revealed.

Forthcoming meetings will feature increased security measures – including the one next Thursday in which committee members will vote on the plan – as certain groups have threatened committee members, officials said.

The plan is a culmination of more than 50 public and more than 100 stakeholder meetings since the process began in 2012, said Sue Ann Pemberton, a tri-chair of the committee, architect, and historic preservationist. The plan is aimed at reclaiming the plaza for pedestrians and telling a more reverent, complete, and accurate story of the site’s history, Pemberton told the Rivard Report earlier on Monday.

The so-called “Interpretive Plan,” based on the conceptual master plan approved by City Council last year, looks essentially the same as the proposal presented in June. But since then, designers have added two more access points to the plaza and provided further explanations to back up other design elements. Four key – and controversial – elements remain: closing portions of South Alamo and East Houston streets, redirecting Fiesta parades, moving the Alamo Cenotaph, and restricting the now-open flow of foot traffic through the plaza.

Courtesy / The Alamo

Designers included two additional access points to Alamo Plaza while the museum is open.

Another part of the previous proposal – what to do with the three historic buildings across from the Alamo and how to incorporate a Smithsonian-caliber museum there – is not part of the current proposal. The Alamo is seeking firms that can provide a historical assessment of the buildings, and the request for proposal for that work was released on Monday.

The citizen advisory committee will meet Thursday at 6:30 p.m. in City Council chambers to hear and discuss the plan. Due to security concerns and at the committee’s request, the vote will be anonymous at first, said Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), a tri-chair of the citizen committee and a member of the Alamo Management Committee.

“We want [committee members] to be able to go home safely without being harassed,” Treviño said. The results – who voted for or against the measures – will be made public the following day.

Moving the Cenotaph has been a source of much of the plan’s controversy. Members of This Is Texas Freedom Force have been particularly aggressive when it comes to protests, Treviño said.

It’s unclear if the committee will vote for the plan as a whole or split up the different design elements and vote on them separately, he said – that will be up to committee members.

Once the committee makes it recommendation to the Management Committee, that group will in turn vote to recommend elements to the Executive Committe, comprised of Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush. Both have veto power for the plan.

Ultimately, however, the plan rests in the hands of City Council, which would have to approve handing over the portions of South Alamo and East Houston streets to the State in order to implement the plan. Nirenberg is slated to place that and discussion of the Alamo plan on Council’s agenda this fall.

“The site will be 24/7 accessible for everyone,” Treviño said. But while the museum is open, pedestrians will have to access the plaza through a “formal entry,” he said, rather than being able to enter from all angles like they can today. When the museum is closed, there will be six entrances to the plaza, he said.

The two museum-hour entrances that planners added will open as needed to accommodate increased traffic or special events, Treviño said.

Much of the specific programing and design is still being worked out, he said. “We can’t get stuck picking out the dishes when we’re still trying to design the house.”

28 thoughts on “Alamo Plan Heads to Executive Committee, City Council Vote

  1. This whole thing is a big waste of tax payer money but nobody at City Hall cares what the people have told them. They want to leave their legacy on the city. What ever you do leave the Cenotaph alone! Come.November there will be some people voted out of office for certain. Damn idiot politicians.

    • You’re right. No one cares what a tiny group of small minded people think. They shouldn’t, esp when that group of small minded people are utterly wrong. Also, no one in office currently is being voted out because of their vote on this matter. Seriously, step out of your tiny bubble.

      Most San Antonians don’t care what happens or agree with the changes.

      • City of San Antonio’s May 2019 general election – when voters will select Council members and a mayor.

        Soon enough to think about it!!!!

    • No one in city hall is on the ballot in November, probably helps to know when people are elected and be informed if you want to be taken seriously.

    • We are easy to find, anytime you want to step out from behind that computer and talk face to face we’re here.

      • Let me repeat myself.
        “name-calling bully, hates Trump, but acts just like him!”
        Please STOP the nasty name calling, say your side without name calling PLEASE!!!! Do you not see your similarity?

        NO BULLYING!!!

  2. Just like the plan for HemisFair Park, this is truly one of the most uninspiring / lacking projects ever put forward. This is San Antonio’s Tricentennial Capstone. The “Citizen Advisory Committee” (loaded with hand picked special interests) should be ashamed of itself.

  3. “100”, mostly private, STAKEHOLDER meetings!! So who are these STAKEHOLDERS??? As the Citizen Advisory Committee’s failed/gamed process made clear, “WE THE PEOPLE” are not Stakeholders.

  4. Other, and better options have been put forward, but no one seems to care. The most important thing to do is preservation and care of the Alamo. The plaza surface needs to lowered, as suggested. Moving the Centotaph is fine, because it is representative. Closing the plaza and having gated access is not good, because…well, it’s a plaza.
    Still hoping for more realistic results.

  5. Shameful and stupid plans.

    They haven’t done one thing to restore any ALAMO buildings. Since 2014.

    Stupid and authoritarian. Shameful.

  6. “We want [committee members] to be able to go home safely without being harassed.” Good Lord – where are we living, Burkina Faso? Suddenly everyone and his brother is a raving Alamo lunatic! Calm down people and take your meds. For God’s sake – the Alamo’s not going anywhere, the Plaza’s not going anywhere, San Antonio’s not going anywhere (although we wish we could change to a more northern latitude this time of year.) THIS TOO SHALL PASS!

  7. This plan will create a dead zone in the middle of San Antonio. Within 20 years the city will revisit the plan out of concern that hardly any local people and only some of first-time visitors to the city are making the effort to find the one entrance to go into the newly created dead area. After the rush of the newness of the museum and enclosed plaza, it will be interesting to watch the attendance numbers drop. The Alamo will no longer remain as one of the top tourist destinations in San Antonio, much less in the state.

  8. It should be an open meeting. If security is an issues they should employ the police. Committee members can always take the tunnel to Houston Street to escape any ‘mob.’ This lack of government transparency is a real shame.

  9. It is very interesting that Councilman Trevino made a big deal about the “Glass Wall” being gone. But now we find out they are restricting access to ONE entry point! That is totally wrong! But if the Alamo is not open there will be two other entrances?? It needs to remain totally open to the people.

  10. So I guess all the people that care about access to the plaza are not considering the security issue which may arise in the future?

    I am not a pro-gun advocate but can’t help but notice that obviously public spaces can be soft targets, these controlled entrances on the north and the south of the plaza should help mitigate the crazies who would do harm to innocent bystandards.

    The cenotaph needs to be rehabbed and moved to a more historically appropriate space, and city should ensure that events like Fiesta still incorporate the greatest historical places in ol’ town San Antonio

  11. I’ve sat in meetings with constituents from every level of SATX society. The planning committee refused to give thought to a single concern of the community. They spoke often of compromise but there was none in the end.

    Vote out Trevino and the those who vote today for this harmful proposal to our city.

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