City Council approves Alamo Master Plan

    San Antonio City Council approved the Alamo Master Plan on May 11 making way for a visitor center, church and park amenities for locals and visitors. (Courtesy photo)

    City Council approved the Alamo Master Plan last Thursday to restore the Alamo Church and Long Barracks all to tell the story of the nearly 300-year old Alamo.

    The May 11 vote marked the beginning of the next phase of the project, including the selection process for architect firms for the Plaza and Alamo Museum. The process includes public meetings, review by various regulatory agencies including the City of San Antonio Planning and Zoning Commission, Historic and Design Review Commission and additional action by City Council.

    “I am pleased to see that the team has listened to community concerns and made a number of significant changes and improvements,” said Mayor Taylor. “I also want to note that we’ll be looking at design solutions to create a sense of enclosure. I remain open to the full range of solutions that the design team might bring forward.”

    The average time the person spends at the Alamo is seven minutes and that is partially due to lack of structure to the historical landmark. The Alamo Master Plan will achieve five concepts when constructing and restoring to make more it than a quick trip through history. They include:


    1. Restoration of the Church and Long Barracks.

    The Master Plan proposes an intense conservation program spanning over four years to address immediate concerns, undertaking a wide range of tests to fully understand the mechanisms of deterioration and decay. This will develop methods to create a long-term program to protect the national treasure.


    1. Delineation of the historic footprint.

    The Process of outlining the historic footprint of the Alamo and reestablishing its relationship to the Church and the Long Barrack starts with archeology. Interpretation of the historic South Gate is a critical first step. The Plan also proposes a clear differentiation between the 1936 Garden and the compound by re-purposing the 1936 Garden as a park.


    1. Recapture the Historic Mission Plaza and create a sense of reverence and respect on the historic battlefield.

    The Master Plan proposes that Alamo Street from Houston Street to Market Street and Crockett Street from Losoya Street to Bonham Street be closed to vehicular traffic. The Plan proposes to lower the elevation of the Alamo Plaza to the living surface of the historic mission compound, 18 to 24 inches below the current elevation. This would also require the repair and relocation of the Cenotaph.


    1. Repurpose the Crockett, Woolworth and Palace buildings into a world-class visitor center and museum that tells the story of the Battle of the Alamo and over 300 years of layered history.

    These historic buildings have been purchased by the Texas General Land Office (GLO). The State will create a 135,000 square foot visitor center and museum. This museum will provide space needed to display thousands of Alamo artifacts, including those in the collection donated to the GLO by artist and historian Phil Collins. In total, there will be eight acres dedicated to telling the story of the Alamo.


    1. Create a sense of arrival to the site and enhance connectivity between the site and other public spaces.

    The closure of South Alamo creates a more dramatic approach for visitors that begins at Commerce Street and continues north along a landscaped, pedestrian-only paseo to the new South Gate entrance to the Alamo. This new approach, together with landscaping and way-finding improvements to Houston, Bonham and Losoya streets, will enhance connectivity between the Alamo and other historic landmarks including Hemisfair Park, La Villita and Market Square.

    Councilman Roberto Treviño (D1), Marise McDermott and Sue Ann Pemberton chaired a city-appointed, 21-member Citizens Advisory Committee that produced a Vision and Guiding Principles outline to serve as the foundation for the Alamo Master Plan effort.

    Councilman Treviño (D1) expounded that the progress will also provide the community with economic impact, learning about history and create international relationships with countries including Mexico.

    “San Antonio is at a point where cultural identity is important to the city and it is critical in telling stories that are multifaceted,” stated Councilman Treviño (D1). “The economic impact will allow 4,000 new permanent jobs associated with this project; and locals and tourists will enjoy all the aspects including education and history the site will offer.”

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