On Thursday, the San Antonio City Council approved a lease of the Alamo Plaza area to the state’s General Land Office, pushing forward into motion plans by the GLO to renovate and restore the Alamo battleground.
Currently, the Alamo site itself is owned and managed by the state, while the land surrounding it—including the streets and storied Cenotaph monument—is owned and managed by the city. The 9-2 vote for the lease of the land surrounding the Alamo Mission marked the final approval step required for the Alamo preservation and restoration plan to be set into action.
The vote also approved the closure of two streets surrounding the Alamo in order to create a more open space.
The plan to renovate the site has gone through many iterations. While original plans suggested moving the Cenotaph as far away as the San Antonio Convention Center, the current plan proposes relocating the monument to an area just outside the historic walls of the Alamo, in front of the Menger Hotel.
The most recent proposal aims to restore the church and barracks, delineate the historic footprint, recapture the historic mission plaza, and create a world-class visitors center and museum that better tells the story of the Alamo’s 300-plus years of history, according to the GLO.
Land Commissioner George P. Bush, who has been working on the project since taking office in 2015, celebrated the vote in a statement:
Texas has a rich and unique history defined by the valor of our defenders who gave their lives for a single idea: liberty. The effort to preserve and restore the Alamo battlefield began three years ago and has undergone intense debate and discussion. Today’s vote is a historic milestone, showcasing the State of Texas and City of San Antonio’s commitment to restoring the Alamo for generations of Texans to come. The story of the Alamo is world renowned and represents the core of Texas’ identity today. I look forward to seeing restoration begin, ensuring the Alamo is around for another 300 years.
However, not everyone was pleased with the plan.
Sharp objection has been issued from several state lawmakers, including State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg) and State Sen. Donna Campbell (R–New Braunfels). Biedermann previously led a rally at the Alamo site, urging more legislative oversight of the project.
The lawmaker has also criticized the plan for being rushed through by Bush and the GLO with a lack of transparency.
Campbell, who has also been strongly opposed to the plan, tweeted that it “fails to protect the Cenotaph that pays tribute to our Texas heroes,” adding that she remains committed to preserving the Cenotaph in its current location.
Restoration of the church and barracks is slated to begin next month.