Management Committee Unanimously Supports Alamo Master Plan

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Visitors at Alamo Plaza take tours and photographs of the historic Texas landmark.

Scott Ball / Rivard Report

The plan to reimgaine Alamo Plaza has received overwhelming support from both the Management and Alamo Citizen Advisory committees.

Representatives from the City of San Antonio, the Texas General Land Office, and the Alamo Endowment on Tuesday agreed unanimously on seven key elements of the multimillion-dollar plan to redevelop Alamo Plaza, according to members of the Alamo Master Plan Management Committee.

The meeting took place via phone at 1:30 p.m. and was closed to the public.

“The unanimous vote from the six-member Management Committee to move the recommendations of the Citizen Advisory Committee to the Executive Committee is the product of years of hard work, countless meetings, and a commitment to tell the complete Alamo story,” said Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), who serves on both the citizen and management committees.

The plan now moves forward to the Executive Committee with overwhelming support from both the Management Committee and Alamo Citizen Advisory Committee, the latter of which approved of the plan Thursday evening. All 26 citizens who voted that night support relocating the Alamo Cenotaph, closing adjacent streets, moving parade routes, the Alamo site plan, and a master lease. Most voted in favor of managed plaza access for a formal point of entry and an analysis of nearby historic buildings to become an Alamo museum.

Two members of the citizen committee, George Cisneros and Ann McGlone, voted against the managed access to the plaza. McGlone cast the lone vote against the historic building analysis. Click here to download a vote summary and here for both of the committees’ resolutions.

Relocating the Cenotaph 500 feet south has drawn protest from some groups, including descendants of the Alamo defenders who died during the 1836 Battle. Others in the urban planning community opposed blocking off the Alamo Plaza’s original footprint to casual foot traffic and instead directing visitors through the museum during its operating hours.

The City’s appointees to the Management Committee are Treviño and City Manager Sheryl Sculley; the General Land Office appointees are special counsel Hector Valle and Communications Director Bryan Preston; and the Alamo Endowment’s are philanthropist Ramona Bass and Gene Powell, a local real estate developer who chairs the Management Committee, is secretary of the Alamo Endowment, chairman of the nonprofit Remember the Alamo Foundation, and a member of The Alamo Trust. The Alamo Endowment is a private nonprofit dedicated to fundraising for the plan.

The Executive Committee comprises Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Land Commissioner George P. Bush, both of whom have veto power. They are expected to consider and vote on the plan in the coming months.

“Over the next few months, we will engage in the next steps of this process so we can get it right,” Nirenberg said in an email. “The Alamo is one of the most recognizable landmarks in the world, and much work and discussion has brought us to this point. We will not rush through these critical phases, which will include a final Council vote, likely in November or December.

“I appreciate the passionate input brought by all members of the community, along with the hard work of citizen volunteers, staff, consultants, and elected officials. The final plan, when approved, should be and will be one that we can be proud of as San Antonians, as Texans, and as a global community.”

Bush praised the decision.

“Today’s vote by the Alamo Management Committee brings the Alamo one step closer to restoring its former glory,” he said. “The Alamo is a symbol known across Texas as a beacon of liberty and freedom from an oppressive government.

The General Land Office manages the Alamo and Long Barrack, while the City owns the plaza and surrounding streets. Closing and conveying the streets to the General Land Office would require a City Council vote, which could take place after the City’s Historic and Design Review and Planning commissions make their own recommendations.

“The State and the committee would like to see this move forward … sooner rather than later,” Preston told the Rivard Report. A project of this scale could lose “momentum,” as did previous attempts to renovate the plaza.

“We do this right now and the Alamo will be set for hundreds of years to come,” Preston said.

The effort to create a more “reverent” experience at the Alamo began in 2014, when City Council established the citizen group to develop guiding principles for what would become the Alamo Master Plan.

City Council approved a conceptual plan in 2017. That plan, along with stakeholder and community input gathered from several public meetings, was used to develop the version presented to the public earlier this year, which features more shade, a slightly different parade re-route, the possibility of demolishing nearby buildings, and more optional access points to the plaza.

“After years of dedication and debate, the Alamo Management Committee has voted to restore the historic mission footprint and 1836 battleground,” Powell stated in a news release. “We look forward to Commissioner Bush and Mayor Nirenberg’s expeditious vote to move this plan forward to the City Council for their consideration.”

10 thoughts on “Management Committee Unanimously Supports Alamo Master Plan

  1. Managed access? This seems unresponsive and one sided. The attempt to segregate the Alamo grounds and the plaza does not recognize that the space is a whole entity.

  2. The State and City need to devise a bold scheme for traffic flow. The band-aid of Losoya Street is not going to work. Possibly a large loop or series of organic shape loops incorporated into the inner city road network. Perhaps a series of walking plaza’s from the Alamo to Market Square.

    • Traffic flow is important. I believe the Alamo Plan is sound. I admire it and the people that came up with it. Sure that there are ways to improve on it, but I think the experts contracted for this are excellent and have been doing what needs to be done to make sure it’s the best plan for this project. I like the loop idea you mention. I also love the idea of brining some of the curves and lines elements found at the orange Torch of Friendship monument on Alamo & Commerce. I’d rather see that dull cenotaph moved far away and replaced with the torch close to the Alamo. A combination of new and old would be lovely. My husband, Paul, mentioned that there is a Freedom Force of Texas who is hell bent obsessed with the damn cenotaph and that they have their panties in a bunch over it. I hope the city council doesn’t make the mistake of give in to those freedom for e drama queens.

  3. Thank you for the link to the list of the advisory committee members and their votes and who appointed them. It is interesting also to see that both the representatives from San Antonio to the management committee voted again for limited access to the plaza for the people of San Antonio. The developers and the state are in control of the plans at this time. It will take a strong San Antonio city council and mayor to save Alamo Plaza with open access for the people of San Antonio and visitors to the city, and apparently also to save the plaza as the continuation of the historic grounds of the Alamo mission and fortress that it is.

    • I just heard that the District 8 or District 7 hand-picked member of the committee isn’t even American. He’s from SPAIN!!!! Palaze appointed him. What the hell is a non-American doing on this committee? Why does he get a say and I don’t? My seventh great grandmother and grandfather died defending Texas liberty and I have to sit back and watch a foreigner tell me how MY Alamo will look from now on? I’m not a Texas Freedom Force member but this is going to make me join for sure now. Where do I sign up?????

      • I know who you are talking about. He’s the Dist8 appointed member. He’s a very smart and kind man from Spain. He represents the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce group. Nothing wrong with that. Council member Pelaez made a fine selection. It’s good to have the input of someone from Spain and someone who represents the Hispanic Chamber businesses.

  4. Up until today, the Alamo has been the most visited site in Texas. The only way to improve on that is to make it more accessible.
    Closing off vehicle traffic and redirecting foot traffic through the museum (during operating hours) and managed access (after hours) is sure to reduce visitation. Before the City gives the street to the State, please wait until you see the diminished visitors. You may want to re-imagine your plan.
    The City’s war on cars has got to stop. Closing Main Plaza, creating bottle-necks on Houston Street, making Broadway more narrow, and shutting down Alamo Street — without doing anything to relieve the resulting congestion — is purdy mean or incredibly shortsighted. Redirecting traffic to Losoya is not going to suffice. Short of reopening Main and Soledad, please consider making Presa Street a southbound thoroughfare.

    • Tragically, I read last year that those Magnolia silos in Waco outpaced the Alamo for total visitor traffic. But now, all we have to do is give the Alamo a makeover on HGTV and we’re golden.

    • Thank you Don Mathis! You said it! The lack of care for traffic flow downtown is outrageous. And the word “unanimous” used in this story certainly does not represent a single (invisible?) citizen we have met.

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