Community members will get a chance to weigh in on the proposed Alamo redevelopment plan at four community meetings this week across the city.
Since its unveiling June 7, the Alamo Interpretive Plan proposing the demolition of historic buildings, construction of a modern museum, and closing South Alamo and East Houston streets has proved controversial, drawing critics and cheerleaders. Public input will help shape the final version of the plan, which should be completed sometime this fall.
Points of contention have arisen over the plan’s proposal to move the Alamo Cenotaph, a 1936 memorial to Alamo defenders who died in the battle, and traffic concerns related to the potential closure of main thoroughfares surrounding the Alamo.
Meanwhile, British rock musician and Alamo aficionado Phil Collins will visit the Alamo on Monday for the unveiling of bronze models of the site created by George Nelson, an Alamo historian and author of The Alamo: An Illustrated History. The models, donated by Collins, depict the Alamo at different times in its history.
“They show how it changed over time so people will see that in 1836 it didn’t have that iconic parapet,” Alamo Trust CEO Douglass McDonald told the Rivard Report via email. “We think they will be great educational tools for the public, and we are locating them on the Alamo historic footprint, inside the mission courtyard, just west of the Long Barrack.”
In 2014, Collins donated his extensive collection of Alamo artifacts to the Texas General Land Office with the intention that it eventually be displayed in the museum that is part of the interpretive plan.
Residents will be able to give feedback on the plan at four meetings, each in different parts of the city: on Monday at Darner Park Operations Headquarters, 5800 Enrique Barrera Parkway on the West Side; on Tuesday at Phil Hardberger Park, 8400 NW Military Highway on the North Side; on Wednesday at the Embassy Suites Hotel & Spa at Brooks, 7610 S. New Braunfels Ave. on the South Side; and on Thursday at the San Antonio Garden Center at the San Antonio Botanical Garden, 3310 N. New Braunfels Ave. north of downtown.
Following those meetings and four additional meetings in July, the 21-member Alamo Citizens Advisory Committee will meet on July 10 and may adjust its plan based on community feedback. The committee will vote on a final recommendation to send to City Council. The plan must ultimately gain the approval of the Alamo Executive Committee, which comprises Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Land Commissioner George P. Bush.
Last week, Marise McDermott, president and CEO of the Witte Museum, resigned from her post as one of the tri-chairs of the Alamo Citizens Advisory Committee, which in 2014 formulated guiding principles to define what the changes to the Alamo and Alamo Plaza would work to achieve. McDermott said she resigned so that she could focus on the museum’s strategic plan and endowment campaign.
Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1) and Sue Ann Pemberton serve as the committee’s remaining chairs. A spokesman for Nirenberg said the mayor is likely to seek someone to fill McDermott’s spot on the committee.