Alamo redevelopment plan includes shutting down traffic, creating museum, visitor center

Plan now halfway complete

By Myra Arthur - Anchor/Reporter

SAN ANTONIO - City Council members got an update Wednesday on the plan to restore the Alamo and redevelop the area surrounding it, which is now roughly 60 percent complete. 

The plan includes relocating the businesses across from the Alamo in order to use those spaces to create a visitor center and museum with 21st-century technology to teach visitors about the history of the Texas shrine. 

"Most people who visit the Alamo, they're only there for a few minutes and then they're off," said District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino. "What we hope to do is expand on that because we want people to understand that there's so much story here. There's so much history."

Trevino and City Manager Sheryl Sculley are the city representatives on the Alamo Management Committee, which is also made up of representatives from the Texas General Land Office and Alamo Endowment Board. 

Preservation Design Partnership, or PDP, has been hired to help develop the master plan for the Alamo. 

In the works for seven months now, the plan also includes shutting down traffic on Alamo Street from Houston Street to Market Street and on Crockett Street from the Menger Hotel to Losoya Street. 

The project would create a more structured entrance for Alamo visitors. 

"We need to create some logic and order," said George Skarmeas with PDP.  "People get in and out from all different directions. They have no sense of place. They come in from the north, the west (and) the south."

Moving the Cenotaph several blocks south of the Alamo is also part of the plan. 

The Cenotaph marks the site where the remains of defenders of the Alamo were burned. 

The project also aims to restore and preserve the nearly 300-year-old building.

"Simply put, the building is deteriorating before our very eyes," Skarmeas said. 

One modern-day accommodation challenging the Alamo's structure: air conditioning. 

Skarmeas said it’s forcing moisture through the building in a pattern that would not naturally occur. 

It's just one of the challenges facing the preservation of the building. 

"It's important for the city because it's important for how we're seen as treating a national treasure," Trevino said.

The Alamo area master plan is expected to be complete in May, but implementing the project could take the better part of a decade. 

In 2015, the state contributed $31 million to the plan and will ask for another $75 million in the upcoming legislature.

The city included $16 million for the redevelopment in last year's budget and will ask voters to approve another $22 million in the 2017 bond election. 

The project is estimated to cost between $200 million and $300 million over the next 10 years and will largely be funded by private donors, said Sculley.

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