Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush discussed ongoing Alamo mission renovations, veterans’ programming and the state of national politics during a luncheon hosted by the San Antonio Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.
The luncheon, held downtown at the Hilton Palacio del Rio Hotel, was attended by City officials, various political dignitaries and local leaders in tech and business. Bush was in town to discuss the partnership between the City of San Antonio and the Texas General Land Office to “design a Master Plan for the historic district, to reimagine the experience for tourists around the world,” he said.
The Land Office purchased properties – the Woolworth, Crockett and Palace buildings – across the street from the Alamo to restore the building, and better reflect it’s place in Texas history. Bush did not specify whether the historic buildings would be moved. Currently, the site includes vendors and tourist attractions.
The 84th Texas Legislature approved $5 million to improve and renovate the Alamo, Bush said, thanking State Reps. Diego Bernal (D123) and Rick Galindo (D117), who were present at the luncheon, for their efforts to preserve an important part of Texas history.
“We have to make sure that the Alamo is as powerful in the 21st century as it was in 1836,” Bush told the audience, adding that some of the $5 million had already been used to address immediate needs and structural damage at the Alamo.
Crews have already begun renovating the Alamo’s structural needs by installing scaffolding along several doorways and barracks to protect visitors, and have installed fiberoptic cabling for WiFi for technology and educational programs at the Alamo.
“The Alamo isn’t just part of our past, I believe it’s our future,” Bush said. “We need men and women like each and every one of you, as part of the Chamber, to be part of these efforts.”
The Alamo Endowment Board, who will meet later this afternoon, is currently considering candidate firms to lead the Master Planning process, and are expected to announce their final decision soon.
In addition to restoration efforts, Bush discussed GLO’s work to protect Texas coastlines and increasing the visibility of veteran programs and services available to those who have served our country. Veterans, who often are unaware of these resources, are suffering from PTSD and higher suicide rates than ever before.
“We now have a mission to make sure that these men and women know about the benefits that they have earned,” he said.
Chamber President and CEO Richard Perez thanked Bush for his words and presented him with several books – including the children’s book, Goodnight San Antonio – which will be donated in his name to the San Antonio Public Library and the Barbara Bush Middle School in NEISD.
Bush ended his keynote speech with a reminder to the crowd to “be a part of the solution” to the larger political problem facing the country.
“Politics isn’t about posturing, it’s about people,” he said. “This country needs men and women, ready and willing, to take their place as the architects of a brighter tomorrow here in San Antonio.”
*Top Image: The San Antonio Chamber of Commerce is hosting Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in the second of our Road to Session Luncheon Series.