One Central Texas state representative is leading the charge against an effort to “Reimagine the Alamo” after Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush announced he is moving forward on the plan.
Speaking at the Alamo Friday morning, State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg) argued against Bush’s decision to enter into a long-term lease with the City of San Antonio for the property surrounding the Alamo. One of Biedermann’s chief complaints is that the proposal calls for relocating the Alamo Cenotaph, a monument dedicated in 1936 as a memorial to the Alamo Defenders who lost their lives during the famous battle a century earlier.
According to Biedermann, the long-term lease with the city of San Antonio would give the city the “ability to monitor compliance” and require the state to prioritize “the World Heritage Site nomination and designation” of the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization.
“This is not what Texans want, nor is what our brave and heroic defenders fought and died for,” said Biedermann.
Biedermann acknowledged that he had been in contact with the GLO, even attending a meeting with Bush in recent weeks, and had talked to the office as recently as Thursday in an effort to be completely transparent. According to GLO officials, a lease has not yet been drafted.
“I don’t trust it. They have spent millions of dollars on consultants, lawyers, staff, and they have been working on this for over three years. And to tell me that they don’t have anything ready to go is hard to believe,” Biedermann argued, adding that he and other Texans would hold the GLO accountable during the drafting process.
“The state of Texas does not want to be bound in that type of a master lease with the City of San Antonio.”
Biedermann vowed to work in the legislature to take statewide control over the entire Alamo battlefield and the renovation project, and to hold Bush and San Antonio accountable.
“I believe it is imperative for Commissioner Bush to include the Texas Legislature in the process going forward with respect to the Alamo Master plan in order to ensure Texas sovereignty over the future of the Alamo,” Biedermann told reporters. “I am not standing alone.”
Indeed, other legislators have voiced their concerns with some details of the current Alamo master plan, including State Sens. Donna Campbell (R–New Braunfels), Dawn Buckingham (R–Lakeway), and Bob Hall (R–Edgewood), as well as State Reps. Cole Hefner (R–Mount Pleasant), Mike Lang (R–Granbury), Tony Tinderholt (R–Arlington), Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park), Terry Wilson (R–Marble Falls), Jonathan Stickland (R–Bedford), Bill Zedler (R–Arlington), and Valoree Swanson (R–Spring), all of whom have written or signed letters to Bush opposing the current plan.
Since its announcement several years ago, the plan to “Reimagine the Alamo” has undergone frequent and significant changes. While the 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 historical walls of the Alamo in front of the Menger Hotel.
Supporters of the plan argue that the new location sufficiently honors the Cenotaph while also more respectfully reclaiming much of the historic footprint of the battleground. They argue that the plan will restore dignity to the site, which currently includes the Ripley’s Believe it or Not “Odditorium” and various gift shops. Those opposing relocation of the Cenotaph say the monument should remain within the historical walls where the heroes of the Alamo gave their lives.
The plan also includes major investments in restoration work and the expansion of museum space near the site. Those elements of the plan have not drawn significant opposition.
The full press conference may be viewed below: