Scott Ball / Rivard Report
Mayor Ron Nirenberg and Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush on Tuesday jointly signed a resolution in support of an Alamo redevelopment plan that would move the Cenotaph, establish a “world-class” museum, manage access to the area, and close off city streets.
Elements of the plan now will go through two commission votes on Wednesday, Oct. 10, followed by a City Council vote slated for Thursday, Oct. 18. If approved, the City and State will continue to work together on implementation of the plan.
Key elements of the master plan, which were overwhelmingly approved by its Citizen Advisory Committee and Management Committee, includes 24-hour access to the historic plaza, moving the Alamo Cenotaph, entry points, street closures, new parade routes, restoring the Church and Long Barrack, and a “world-class” visitor center and museum in place of or inside of the three state-owned historic buildings directly west of the plaza.
The resolution signed on Tuesday also calls for the Cenotaph, a 1930s-era sculpture that honors Texan soldiers who defended the military outpost during the famous 1836 battle, to be moved to a prominent place of “reverence and learning.” Planners say that spot is 500 feet south in front of the Menger Hotel. The relocation has drawn protests from some descendants of those that fought in the 1836 Battle of the Alamo and activists.
“This process hasn’t been entered into lightly nor has it been rushed,” Nirenberg said, adding later that “this is a historic day. We have done what people have been trying to do for 150 years – which is we … breathe life back into [the Alamo] in a way that Texas, San Antonio, and the world over can be proud.”
Nirenberg declined to sign a resolution in mid-September after Bush tweeted out an image of his missing signature. Nirenberg said he didn’t want to rush the process and suggested that a Council vote could occur in November or December, after the contentious Nov. 6 election.
The two leaders are the sole members of the master plan’s Executive Committee – each had veto power over the mostly symbolic resolution that ultimately will be superseded by the lease and management agreement between the City and General Land Office (GLO). That agreement is nearing completion, Nirenberg said, noting the lease language would be made public soon. Click here to download the signed joint resolution.
“I’ve always been clear that the workflow will dictate the timeline,” he said, adding later that he needed further briefing and wanted to include additional details in the resolution. “The work is almost completed. And I feel very confident now that with the work session with Council on the 10th and the voting session with Council on the 18th we will have finality and move forward with the next steps of development of the plan.”
The Planning Commission will vote on the proposed South Alamo Street closure and its partial conveyance to the State in addition to the master lease agreement for the plaza. The Historic and Design Review Commission will vote on the general plan design and relocation of the Alamo Cenotaph – which is owned by the City.
Once the plan clears those and a City Council vote, the Alamo Endowment – the third partner in the redevelopment agreement – can start in earnest its critical fundraising efforts, Bush said. Previous estimates put the private investment needed in the $400 million-$500 million range.
After three long years of planning … over 200 stakeholder meetings throughout the City of San Antonio and the state of Texas, that this is truly a successful partnership,” Bush told reporters Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s time now for all Texans to come together regardless of our backgrounds. We’ve had our say and now it’s time to move forward with the master plan.”