Amid Shouting, Placards, and Texts, Alamo Plaza Public Hearings Accomplish Little

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Those opposed raise their hands when asked if they should not move the cenotaph from it's current location.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

Those opposed to moving the Cenotaph from its current location raise their hands at the Alamo Public Meeting at Ron Darner Park Operations Headquarters on June 18.

However you feel about the proposed Alamo Plaza Interpretive Plan, last week was not one for forward progress on the most important redevelopment project in contemporary San Antonio history.

Mostly it was a week where the plan's valiant but hapless creators spoke at public hearings while audience members sometimes listened, often booed, robotically waved "Do not Move the Cenotaph" placards, and occasionally shouted insults.

"Go back to London!" one audience member yelled, interrupting a surprised yet admirably composed Boston landscape architect.

All that was missing were locals hurling tomatoes and raw eggs. Except not all the hecklers were locals. Some were out-of-town members of This Is Texas Freedom Force, the same gun-toting crowd that filled Travis Park months ago to protest the removal of a Confederate soldier statue.

I knew even before entering the third hearing, held Wednesday at Brooks, that it would be an eventful meeting. As I waited for the remote parking bus to ferry us to the hearing site, an older white woman approached the small group and singled out the only black person among us.

Pointing a finger and not even saying hello, she said, "You're a black man. You black men and women should know Juneteenth was started right here at the Woolworth Building in 1960, right here in San Antonio. Isn't that amazing? Y'all should know that."

I'm usually pretty good at holding my tongue, but I blurted out a response: "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in 1865. It has nothing to do with the Woolworth Building. It didn't even start in San Antonio."

"No, I am not wrong, it was right here, Juneteenth in San Antonio, 1960," the woman snapped, waving her hand in dismissal and turning her back to me.

Ben Olivo, a fellow journalist who publishes the recently launched local news site San Antonio Heron, was standing next to me. "It happened in Galveston," he added, not that it mattered.

Later, as I scanned the audience, I saw the woman again, one of many holding aloft "Don't Move the Cenotaph" placards throughout the speaker presentations, a sort of in-your-face, "we are not listening" protest.

Public hearings have their place in the democratic process. Having attended hundreds of them, however, I can say they hardly ever seem to represent society-at-large. Too often they attract a disproportionate number of individuals chronically suspicious of all things government.

Last week's Alamo hearings certainly included many people deeply interested in the thoughtful redevelopment of Alamo Plaza, but voices of reason tended to be lost in the noise. Click here to read the hundreds of text messages posted by audience members during the four meetings.

Comments or questions about the Alamo Master Plan are submitted and then displayed in a screen at the front of the room.

Bonnie Arbittier / Rivard Report

Submitted comments and questions about the Alamo Master Plan are  displayed on a screen at the June 20 meeting at the Embassy Suites Hotel at Brooks.

The hearings certainly didn't advance the community debate over the future of Alamo Plaza. Protest, of course, is the right of all citizens and something to be guarded and defended. At some point, however, the shouting has to stop, the placards have to be lowered, the flintlocks set down, and people need to start talking, listening, and negotiating.

On the other side, the power groups – members of the Alamo Management Committee, Alamo CEO Douglass McDonald, members of the Alamo Endowment, and City Council – must address the many legitimate challenges to different elements of the proposed plan. Many of those concerns have been voiced by major stakeholders in San Antonio's historic preservation, downtown development and vitality, cultural leadership, and visitor economy.

It's regrettable that any call for change seems to attract a racist, xenophobic element still very alive in San Antonio, which for three centuries has sat at the crossroads of empire, war, revolution, independence, and a constant mixing of peoples. We were always meant to be a frontier city, a confluence of people, cultures, and ideas.

Present-day acrimony triumphed over a better appreciation of the city's past and a better path to its future last week. The challenge now is to have a serious conversation about how to transform a long-neglected Alamo Plaza without seeing this historic opportunity lost in the shouting.

55 thoughts on “Amid Shouting, Placards, and Texts, Alamo Plaza Public Hearings Accomplish Little

  1. I guess that lady would have wanted to hear that all the alamo defenders were basically fighting to keep slaves. She would be proud.

    Thats the property rights in the texas indepence battles.

    • They weren’t fighting to keep slaves. They were fighting against a dictator named Santa Ana who murdered them. You can twist things all you want, but that is not what happened at the Battle of the Alamo.

      • Ummmm there was an actual slave in the Alamo in the Alamo during the battle. Makes me wonder exactly whose “freedom” that slave-owner was fighting for…

        • I thought there were two. One left so as not to be killed, and the other one stayed. Can’t swear to it though.

  2. Thanks for the article. Thanks for your article. Well said. This city needs to grow up, experience change, and be willing to incorporate transformative design, outside the box thinking if you will. This design may not be extraordinary but it is a nice solid proposal with a few exceptions. Moving the centopath is not one of them. Closing the streets is my favorite aspect of the design despite concerns. Pedestrian traffic and combustion is not a good mix. It seems that a many people here don’t want change or transformation because they want the city to remain the same and are afraid of government or business. These people could prove detrimental moving forward. San Antonio beware. National perception could be on the line here.

    • I don’t think this article was well written at all. Racists, xenophobes? How are the muslims getting into it? You can always tell a liberal. I am surprised he didn’t accuse them of being homophobes. As for listening and discussion, that has not worked in the past. The time for talking politely is over. The Alamo planners have their own agenda, and they are going to go forward with it whether or not it sits well with the people of Texas, the Alamo Defenders’ Descendants, the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas, and the Texas Historical Commission to name a few. They have have a couple of token representatives from these groups, but these representatives go along with their plans. They do a couple of things for show like the Alamo Roadshow going around Texas for input, but that is all it is. A show. Just a show. What the Alamo planners miscalculated was the intense passion Texans have for their Alamo. THEIR Alamo. It does not fall under the power of a few people who do not even have the first clue of what the Alamo really stands for. As for the whooping it up, more power to them. The louder the better!

  3. Thanks for the insight – sounds like I “imagined” it would be. I will be back in town for the July round of meetings and hope they have listened and changed a few things, like closing streets.
    And thanks for the tip on the latest Non-profit news organization in San Antonio. If they are half as good as Rivard Report the city will be getting some good journalism finally.

  4. Re the Cenotaph. Seems like they need to get all the “no movers” in a room and have a serious conversation about exactly what they want (besides no move.) Do you want the C refurbished? OK. Do you want it to be placed so that it gets lots of attention? OK. Do you want it to be placed on the spot where the people named on it actually died? OK. Or were buried? OK. Let’s make a list first and then work from there. Just shouting NO isn’t helpful.

    And I didn’t go to any of these hearings because after I heard the “no movers” be so rude at the first reveal at the Witte, I knew the level of discourse was only going to drop lower. A shame.

  5. Since the Cenotaph already looks like a float, I suggest that it joins the parades after being retrofitted with wheels…a la Historic Fairmount Hotel in 1985! Might take a little jazzing up as its rather dull, but it would fit in perfectly!

  6. I attended the meeting at Botanical Garden because I wanted to hear the whole plan and see all the renderings. I was moved twice to get away from people who wouldn’t shut up and just listen.
    Do I love this plan? No. Mostly, because it’s just packed with unnecessary “stuff to do”. The preservation of the Alamo is important, so lowering the plaza surface to mitigate moisture damage, etc., is great. Repairing the C is important.
    Repurposing the bldgs. on the west side is terrific. If we could just start on a smaller scale, I think it would be better.
    Technology can help with the imagining of the history. Sometimes you just really can’t go backwards in time.

  7. I’m shocked how you’ve aged, Bobbie. That was me sharing Juneteenth with the black brothers when you so rudely shouted at us.
    I’m proud to be the one who yelled “go back to London”. Not sure how much I agree with the Firemen’s battle, their leader says it perfectly: OUR TOWN IS A PLACE WHERE TX CITIZENS HAVE THE RIGHT TO DECIDE THEIR PRIORITIES, NOT AN UNELECTED OUT-OF-TOWN BUREAUCRAT TRYING TO COLLECT A WINDFALL BONUS. “
    Exactly!!! Stop the attempted COMMERCIALIZATION and GENTRIFICATION of our beloved Alamo.

    • Myfe,

      Please learn your history. The Alamo is much more than about a single battle for so called ‘freedom.’

      You don’t need to be teaching a black man about black history, particular since it was so wrong. If you cared so much about black history you would know the details.

      The cenotaph is a modern day symbol of cultural appropriation. Your people have transformed the Alamo and it’s long history of cultural interaction and development into a symbol of white supremacy much like the Confederates hero statues.

      The Alamo is so much more than the about the Battle of 1837.

      Also, please try to contribute to this debate without using personal attacks on people’s appearances. Not very respectful.

      • 1836… but I’m sure you’ve already learned your history. Right?

        “The cenotaph is a symbol of modern day cultural appropriation”
        Wait, how again?

        If you want modern day cultural appropriation and talk about the contributions of “your people”, maybe you should get off the internet. Maybe stop wearing pants or speaking English. Stop living in capitalist society or participating in either democracies or republics. I’m afraid to break it to you that you are culturally appropriating currently. That term is so misguided and full of bologna victim mentality.

        Did you even stop to think of how the mission is a symbol of cultural hegemony? If you don’t like the confederate statues, makes no sense to support the existence of the Alamo simultaneously. Unless of course you just want to be exclusive to hating the evils of the white man, which this city excels at beyond all others in the state of Texas. The long history of cultural interaction of the Alamo as you put it, begins at the erasing of the identity and culture of the natives, you can start there. The cultural appropriation part is something we all do, including yourself.

        Maybe educate yourself on history before you lecture everyone else, and try to get the year of the battle right next time since it’s pretty basic level of retention in order to talk about it.

        • 1836. Simple mistake. How can anyone every forget this sacred year?

          Cultural hegemony in San Antonio has been occurring for many, many centuries. We just happen to be living with under the latest iteration.

      • Since when have Confederate statues and the Alamo become symbols of white supremacy? Tell me. WHEN did they become that? I never heard that, and I have lived in Texas my whole life. The only places these monuments stand as memorials to white supremacy in your minds. These people fought and died so that people like you and me could have what we have today. Easy to take for granted now. Keep this all up, and you just might see a repeat. Not everybody thought slavery was great. Not everybody who fought in these wars owned slaves. They stopped shipping slaves to America in the early 1800’s. Europe did a couple of decades later. Slavery was dying out on its own. The Civil War was more about states rights anyway. There were a few wealthy plantation owners as well as some not so wealthy landowners that needed them, but this was certainly not the majority of people in the South. Learn about the Civil War. I am. Bought a bunch of books on it recently. It is unfortunate that our education system has failed miserably teaching our kids real history and civics. Look at the problems it has caused.

        • While you are catching up on your American and Texas history you should familiarize yourself with ‘manifest destiny’ that served as ideology to conquest the west and its indigenous people such Native and Mexican Americans. The Battle of Alamo and Texian rebelión was part of the master plan. Please go beyond the simple myths of history that are taught in school. Try to move beyond your cultural bias.

          In regards to the role of slavery in the Texian rebellion, please read Phillip Tucker’s ‘America’s First Forgotten War for Slavery and the Genesis of The Alamo.’

          These are historical realities that San Antonian and Texans must come to terms with. We can also, however, seek to maintain the existing cultural hegemony that disregards the voices and experiences of the marginalized. No victim hood here, only a search for the truth.

          • I have purchased several books on the Civil War, some from the 1800’s and others more current. I seek the truth about what happened. I don’t think the Alamo Defenders were thinking about “Manifest Destiny” when they came under attack by Santa Ana’s army. There were Mexicans as well as other groups who resisted this dictator. The truth is there was slavery here in Texas, too. Not as much, but it was nonetheless here. Some people are always trying to give the impression that all whites had slaves, and they approved of slavery. Not true. Not all Confederate soldiers had slaves either. In fact, most of them did not. Did their blood not count? General Robert E. Lee did not approve of slavery, but he fought for the South and states rights. He inherited some slaves from his father-in-law, but he set them free after the war and after they were educated. History is history and cannot be changed. I think the slavery we need to be concerned about now is the human and sex trafficking coming from Mexico and Central America. Focus on that, and do something about that. Else, people are going to look back at us and wonder why we did nothing. Governor Abbott is trying to put a stop to it. Finally, someone cares to do something about it. As for your suggested reading, I am suspect of any book that has “Genesis” in the title.

    • I totally agree. Let’s let Steele decide what to do and let’s have more Tshirt shops on the plaza. What about a McDonald’s kiosk right in the middle. Get rid of the raspa folks.

  8. See there? Gentrification is a code word for no change. Leave S.A. as it is. I’ve always felt that we need big outside money to build our city up. I’m talking architecture here. To leave the perception that we are a 21st century city progressive and moving forward. But mainly a city that will strive to keep our educated (our children) to stay here and live and not move to other more vibrant cities. To entice big business to move here. People often talk out of both sides of their mouths. They want higher paying jobs but condemn the people who can provide those jobs: big business. Either we decide to compete against the big cities or we remain the sleepy little tourist town we’ve always been.

  9. Suddenly everybody and his brother is an “Alamo Expert”.” Sad – a lot of disgruntled, unhappy people flaunting their self-important “Texas credentials” in order to appear more entitled then they actually are. Shame on spreading the Woolworth/Juneteenth lie – read your damn history books! As well – the Cenotaph was plopped down in 1936 (100 years AFTER the fall of the Alamo) in space that was deemed available – not sacred, not holy, not sanctioned by God! Yes, yes – we know there was a funeral pyre there. The largest, most documented (in effect most “sacred”) pyre was on Commerce Street. Why aren’t people clamoring to move it there if true authenticity is the goal? A good compromise is to put it in front of the Menger, make it a true focal point for the visitor, restore it magnificently, get rid of the eyesore gazebo (again, plopped down in 1976!) and be done with it. I for one CANNOT WAIT for all the blood-sucking Ripley’s, Guinness, crapola tourist-traps to be once and for all moved from Alamo Plaza. Talk about trying to maintain a little dignity for Texas most sacred battle site. And thank you for the trees. We always need more trees!!!

    • Geez, how silly were the city fathers in 1836 not to put up the Cenotaph right after the smoke cleared. They should not even have waited for San Jacinto.

      Which makes me think, why are we putting up bronzes of the Canary Islanders. They should have been put in 1718, not 300 years later.

    • Wes – I am with you with the exception of more trees. This plaza should not become an arboretum, but show the size of the interior of the Alamo fortress. I really like your other comments!

  10. The poor little Alamo, sitting on the minor position in Alamo plaza, is something we experience by surprise most of the time. You cannot see it from Alamo and Houston, when you drive by on Alamo, it pops up from the side as you pass the place. The really important question is “how to make the Alamo more important in the plaza” without compromising the bustle of the plaza itself. So, in your analysis of things like moving the Cenotaph, closing Alamo St., tearing down the existing West building, ask the question, “does it make the Alamo more important ?” It is also possible not to build a rail anywhere to restrict the flow through the plaza, even with the lowered plaza segment. I did not hear any racism in the meeting. Maybe I was sitting with the better people.

    • Mark: The church is but one piece of “The Alamo Fortress” (what was once a mission). The Long Barrack is really the more important building and must be reworked so it once again has a second story. That addition does not need to be functional or of real limestone – it can be made as a Hollywood set would be constructed for the purpose of providing authenticity to the reworked plaza. It will look real and will help better tell the story of the mission, fortress and battle ground. Geo

  11. The question of whether any of the issues improves the presence of the Alamo in the plaza comes to mind. It’s position in the plaza is on a minor axis, and we mostly view the front facade “in passing”. Currently, you cannot see the shrine from Houston and Alamo, and as you drive by on Alamo, the iconic facade “pops” up all of the sudden. Through design, it is possible to enhance the position and importance of the Alamo without compromising the plaza at all. Use this criteria as a measurement, “does it make the Alamo more important?”

  12. I sincerely hope nothing comes out of these meetings — in a good San Antonio sense of the word “nothing”.
    We wouldn’t be a UNESCO world heritage site if every misbegotten “concept” of the past century had come to be built over the top of our lovely old buildings, destroying every vestige of history.
    I hope this so-called “plan” goes the way of the plan to dig up and refashion the Japanese Garden into a modern concrete abomination. Remember the embarrassing years when the pond was drained, the giant fish were missing and the old building was falling into disrepair? Instead of millions of dollars for that “plan”, the pond leaks were fixed, the building re-roofed and the fish returned.
    More recently, the plan to destroy the soul of Brackenridge Park with unwanted unfriendly “concepts” was cut back to what ordinary citizens demanded: They’re repairing antique structures and keeping the roads open. I’m delighted to see we’ll be getting a parking garage soon.
    May the Alamo also be lucky enough to get essential repairs and no “concepts”!

  13. This place, Alamo Plaza, has long had a will of its own, and these arguments twisting people into knots over what it should be just don’t seem to acknowledge this point. To be sure, the plaza has never been very assertive or particularly concerned with conveying its historical identities, but time and time again it has masterfully and effectively avoided any sort of master planning. Every now and then it allows a group to add a bit to the mix (read: cenotaph), but only incrementally, and never transformationally. This is the way it has been and, hopefully, the way it will remain.

    Does the landscaping and pedestrian experience need updating? Yes.
    Does the plaza need to be transformed into a controlled access park free of vehicular traffic? No.

    About the only thing we emphatically need is improved public history interpretation. As it stands today, the 1836 battle gets the entire air-conditioned Long Barrack, with all other history unceremoniously relegated to outdoor panels under the 100 degree Texas sun. That the plaza’s transformation is being tied into the overall effort to tell the Alamo’s history is a bit disconcerting. The plaza certainly played a part in the pre-mission, mission, and 1835 battle eras, but it has never worn those identities well. I don’t think it has particularly wanted to. Like Manu, the plaza is gonna plaza. Let’s not let all the money and political capital being plowed into this project transform this place into something it has never wanted to be.

  14. It is good to see people involved. We have unfortunately reached a point where shouting and interrupting is common and becoming acceptable. Common courtesy is approaching extinction.
    After talking to several very talented sculpture artists, they confirmed that the Cenotaph is in fact need of massive repair. I personally don’t have a problem with moving 500 ft. still very close to the Mission.
    Access seems to be the issue that is not exactly transparent. It seems the state wants to be able to control the entire area with gates and specific hours. I find that unacceptable and anyone with a business around the area would suffer.

    • Sad to say, San Antonio doesn’t have a great history of heeding the wishes of a nice public. As far as I could see, shouting and interrupting were the only things that saved the Sunken Gardens and Brackenridge Park. The public hearings on Brack in particular were borderline vicious. And the public was actually allowed to speak at those. Imagine that!
      Once these plans spring (like Athena fully-formed from the mind of Zeus) they are hard to fight or modify.

  15. Let’s hope the proponents of the plan have the guts to listen to the valid points and disregard the noisemakers. Thanks for the article.

    I don’t understand how people could not see getting the Ripley’s, wax museum, etc. off the plaza, better showing the location of the 1836 footprint, and adding a museum would not be an improvement. The real issues seem to be: 1) do we close Houston St. also; 2) do we tear down the buildings across the street for the museum or repurpose them; 3) do we move the cenotaph or leave it where it is?

    • In my opinion, I think the simple answer is that sympathy is due to everything that has occurred since 1836. Closing Houston Street, tearing down the buildings across from the Alamo (which are arguably historic in their own right), and moving the Cenotaph all for the sake of dialing things back in time is too high a price to pay (too much of what has occurred since 1836 would be wiped out). The place just needs some updating in line with how it has evolved of its own accord. This includes the ground floor businesses like Ripley’s. I don’t care for these specific businesses much, but I do like seeing that ground floor space activated with commercial activity… this place is a city, not a museum.

    • And, add ripping out the 100 year old Live Oak trees – which everyone knows will not survive to be replanted. Why can’t they repurpose the old buildings into a museum, repair and restore the Cenotaph where it stands, as well as the Alamo Church and Long Barracks. This is what the State Legislature passed several years ago, if I’m not mistaken. No digging or lowering the plane. No shrub fences, or gates to close the plaza. Close Alamo Street in front of the new museum – but leave other streets open. Address drainage issues rather than lowering the ground level. 1,500,000 tourists visit the Alamo every year. We don’t need it “reimagined” or made into a “world class tourist attraction” George P. Bush. This is sacred ground, not a theme park.

  16. Maybe the Rivard Report can ask Red McCombs, who was hand picked to help this process along, what he thinks about the plan that land Commissioner George P Bush is behind. I trust that he chose the right people to attempt to improve the Alamo experience.

  17. Our City doesn’t have to “compete” with other cities.
    This isn’t a game.
    San Antonio needs affordable housing, higher wage jobs, respect for our firefighters, among other things.
    Why not just move the Alamo out on I H 10 and 1604? There all the “patriotic” Texans can have it to themselves!

    • And that statement, Pancho, is exactly why everything in this city is SO contentious. I have never lived in such a divided city, but perhaps it is just the sad times we live in. We are all people! One people for all! Get it?

  18. Our city does need to compete with other cities. You say higher wage jobs? How unless more corporate companies move in or existing companies are given incentives to grow. An educated populace is important. But if they leave for Dallas, Houston, Boston, San Francisco, Denver, where does that leave us here?With a highly populated and uneducated, minimum wage workforce. Is that what you want?

  19. “It’s regrettable that any call for change seems to attract a racist, xenophobic element still very alive in San Antonio, which for three centuries has sat at the crossroads of empire, war, revolution, independence, and a constant mixing of peoples.” Are you KIDDING me? I was not at this meeting, but keeping the Cenotaph where it is has nothing to do with racism unless it is the racism groups like La Raza have for whites. GIVE ME A BREAK! I am from Waco. I went down there myself to see what is going on in San Antonio. It is a lot different now than when when I was there 25 years ago. I frankly was stunned at attitudes toward white people by hispanics. However, I could care less what they think or feel. The main issue I have with all of this is respect for the Cenotaph. It is not a decorative ornament to be moved and decorated to amuse tourists and collect money. This is a monument to dead heroes. Texas heroes who died so that Texas could be born. These people were as about as brave as anyone can possibly imagine. The Cenotaph is sitting on hallowed ground where it needs to remain. Many have “felt” something very powerful there, including myself. The dead should not be disturbed. Period! You can shout racism and anything else you want, but LEAVE THE CENOTAPH ALONE! There will be hell to pay if you touch it. If there is one thing I am sure about, it is that.

  20. As for the June 19th comment, how do you know that it was not a compliment? Something to be proud of? She could have said it differently, like, “Hey, did you know that June 19th was started right here in San Antonio? How cool is that?” I wasn’t there, but that statement could be read different ways. It appears that racism is the center of this article. If the author has a problem with racism and white people, then maybe he needs to pick a different venue to talk about it where it is more applicable. There is none in this discussion about what to do with the Alamo unless you make it about it. The only racism I see is in this article.

  21. I am so disappointed with the tone of this article. What happened to objectivity and unbiased reporting? Did you ever stop to think that people are sick and tired of not being heard? That a few are being placated at the expense of the many?? There is no turning back or hitting reset once it’s done.

    When I first moved to San Antonio a few years ago, I was told that they wanted to reimagine the Alamo to take the emphasis off the battle that is what the area is known for across this country. It’s what draws visitors to San Antonio. The icing on the cake is the other missions. Want to tell the pre-battle history? Great. Do your little museum. but taking the emphasis off of what the Alamo is nationally and internationally known for is ridiculous.

    I’m one of those that supports not moving the Alamo Cenotaph. Restore and remain. It’s not a monument. It is the embodiment of those whose bodies could not be recovered. The descendants of the Defenders have spoken. There is no compromise on this. Would you not have a problem with having your family remains moved?

  22. Oh my…. change. We do it every day, but it’s more natural to just say no. NIMBY.
    It will be difficult to keep the Emily Morgan, the Post Office, the Menger in their places and find a peaceful venue for the Alamo. But it can be dones… and probably moving the Cenotaph is a start. Changing the parade route is not the end of the world. It’s a good second step.
    This Alamo is a place to revere and respect. If not – leave it the way it is.

  23. I would like the Alamo Plaza to look more like the battle scene.
    1. Move the Cenotaph south.
    2. Close off the proposed streets HOWEVER have removable barriers at Alamo and Houston and at Alamo and Commerce. Temporarily remove the barriers ONLY for the Fiesta Parades once a year. No other time.
    3. Tear down the top 2 floors of the Woolworth building leaving only the bottom floor and reconstruct the famous lunch counter. Make the rest of the Woolworth building part of the new 1 story tall Alamo Museum. Tear down the other 2 non-historic buildings south of the Woolworth building and build 1 story tall Alamo Museum space as needed. Cover the outside Alamo Plaza facing wall of now 1 story Woolworth building and Alamo Museum to resemble walls during Battle of the Alamo.
    The net effect would be to preserve the Woolworth lunch counter and the Centaph and restore the Alamo Plaza to a more authentic view.

  24. I hope the city sees past this mess of negativity and moves forward with the plans. It’s a better design from what the original plans were, plus it is more enjoyable under all that shade of trees the concepts show and it also creates a better flow of the plaza. Regarding the cenotaph, I do not see an issue to move it towards the gazebo area. Doing so would create the open concept of the plaza where the cenotaph currently stands.

  25. Robert, as a retired TxDOT District Engineer, I held and participated in literally hundreds of Public Hearings and Public Meetings over my 45-year career, and you are quite correct that the vast majority of citizens (at least the ones paying attention at all) never show up at public meetings because they assume that their hired professionals will plan, design and build a logical project that meets the people’s needs. Those who show up are wildly dis-proportionally represented by fringe people who are anti-government, anti-progress, or just anti; or a few who have a specific issue they are passionate about. They tend to usurp the process by grandstanding, and it is virtually impossible to have a reasonable conversation in which a possible compromise could be developed. Therefore, the professionals are left to sift thru the mostly hyperbolic comments looking for any bits of realistic ideas which can be melded into the draft project plans. On rare occasions, a gem of an idea will surface.
    For my part personally, I think this latest revision is mostly reasonable. Sure, the dense forest of tree cover depicted is unrealistic for our area, but at least some recognition of the critical need for trees and shade is acknowledged – a great plan improvement. The proposed relocation of the cenotaph to near the site of the current gazebo seems a very logical compromise. I can see both sides of the issue of whether or not to remove the 1900’s-era buildings on the west side – I’d probably vote to salvage the fascias and gut the interiors for a modern interior museum space. As a transportation engineer, I understand the concerns about closing Alamo Street, thereby blocking more of the limited north-south accessibility thru downtown. My solution would be to use porous pavers in at least the western portion of the expanded plaza with bollards installed at Houston and Commerce to preclude regular use of the “street”, but which would allow removal of the bollards for special occasions, including the Fiesta parade(s). Again, this seems like a reasonable compromise that respects the historic footprint of the Mission, but also recognizes a long tradition of having the parade(s) pass by the Alamo.
    A final thought – I always set a goal of reaching consensus on transportation projects; but failing that, I always tried to get to a compromise that the vast majority of citizens could accept…and would recognize that their concerns were not ignored.

  26. The discourse at these meetings is not the fault of the participants. These meetings are poorly managed. No organization preempts chaos. Topics should be selected ahead of time, people should ask to be heard AHEAD of time, and then given their time to speak. If this bunch was rowdy, it is because the City of San Antonio and the General Land Office have ignored them and refused to negotiate with the very people they should be talking to. The Alamo Defenders’ Descendants, the Sons and Daughters of the Republic of Texas (remember the Daughters saved the Alamo from destruction and took care of it for over a hundred years, I believe), the Texas Historical Society, as well as Texans from all over Texas. When people do not listen for two years, or for however long this has been going on, patience starts to run thin. Voices get louder, as they should be. These people that want to move the Cenotaph see it as an ornament. It is obvious by their comments. They do not have a clue what it stands for. I was not there at this meeting, but I take extreme offense at these people being criticized for their right of free speech. Calling them racists, xenophobes, etc. is a new low and highly irresponsible journalism. SHAME on you. It is obvious the author of this article is biased and liberal. Gun toting? How dare anyone protest the removal of historical monuments? June 19th references? This is nothing but political bias and has nothing to do with the situation at hand. Neither is this rhetoric helpful in finding solutions. Try covering events like this honestly and without inserting your own personal feelings into it. Try offering suggestions for how things can be improved. Maybe you can’t. Maybe it is just too easy to use your liberal verbiage. These people are fighting for the the future generations of Texans who they want to be able to experience what they have been able to experience and learn what they have learned. The Battle of the Alamo was a noble battle of courageous men and women fighting tyranny knowing they were going to die. These are qualities that should be greatly admired and emulated for the sake of humanity. Maybe people should care a little more about history and learn from it themselves. Snuffing out history does not make us a better nation. History teaches us to be better people by learning from past mistakes. It teaches us about honor, courage, and sacrifice. Characteristics that are getting in shorter and shorter in supply nowadays at our very own great loss.

    • The Cenotaph represents a narrow and self serving version of history whose time has passed. Let’s tell the entire history of the Alamo and not want happened in short few days.

      • DeeperUnderstandingofHistory? You don’t have a clue about what history is. Get some books and start learning about it that is if you can read. The statement you made about the Cenotaph is not only ignorant but highly disrespectful to the men and women who died there and their descendants. You owe them an apology.

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