San Antonio continues to search for a way to remember the Alamo in a more historically appropriate way than its present state. City and state leaders are teaming up to create a master plan for the Alamo and Alamo Plaza. The City will contribute up to $1 million in bond monies toward a new master plan, and the Texas General Land Office will be responsible for all amounts exceeding the City’s contribution.
One member of a San Antonio civic group that had been lobbying the Texas Legislature for Alamo funding out of the Rainy Day Fund, said the group’s $250 million funding proposal has been rejected. The group is now seeking a budget appropriation of $50 million for the Land Office that would go toward acquiring private properties on the Alamo Plaza, a first major step toward transforming the site into a national caliber historical destination cleared of commercial and entertainment venues. The civic group member, who did not want to be quoted by name because he doesn’t speak officially for the group, said the civic group had agreed to join forces with the City of San Antonio going forward.
George P. Bush, commissioner of the Texas General Land Office, said the city-state alliance is long overdue.
“The Alamo needs all Texans to unite to preserve it for future generations. The time for us to come together is now and I look forward to collaborating with San Antonio, as known as the Alamo City,” Bush recently stated. “Together we will create a strategic vision and work toward our common goal of restoring the Shrine of Texas Liberty to a site worthy of its noble roots.”
Bush is the nephew of former President George W. Bush and son of Jeb Bush, a potential Republican presidential primary candidate. The younger Bush became the commissioner of the land office in November.
Officials expect planning to take about one year, with work starting as early as 2016.
Mayor Ivy Taylor stated the collaboration is a model for how state and local governments can work together to accomplish the “extraordinary.”
“A joint master planning effort will maximize our ability to create a unique and authentic destination that tells the story of San Antonio and its ultimate urbanization,” she stated.
Texas ended its contract with the Daughters of the Republic of Texas last month, which had run the Alamo for 110 years. The Texas General Land Office will cease management of the site on July 10.
Bush wrote a letter to the DRT, stating they failed to keep the Alamo in good order and repair consistent with the age and condition of the Alamo Complex. Click here to download Bush’s letter to the DRT.
Tourists from around the world come to San Antonio to visit the Alamo, which sits on land steeped with history. What once was a Native American burial ground was later home to Mission San Antonio de Valero, the first of the Spanish colonial missions, and later, site of the Battle of the Alamo, a 13-day battle for Texas independence in 1836.
Texas State Senator Jose Menéndez expressed his support for the collaboration.
“The value of the Alamo is universal to all Texans because it represents who we are as a people. Native Americans, Texans, and Mexicans all worshiped in this sacred mission. An investment in the Alamo and a strategic partnership for its future is necessary to develop a world-class iconic site. We must create an educational experience where visitors leave inspired by the storied history and sacrifices the Alamo represents,” Menéndez said in a statement.
San Antonio seems to be doing its best to “remember the Alamo.”
*Featured/top image: A bustling day at the Alamo during Fiesta. Photo by Scott Ball.