SAN ANTONIO -

It's been 178 years since Mexican soldiers surrounded the Alamo in an attempt to regain control of the military fort from a group of defenders.

They won the battle, but not the war.

Now there's a new attempt to seize control of the iconic site.

The Alamo has been controlled by the Texas General Land Office since 2011, and Commissioner Jerry Patterson now wants control of Alamo Plaza which is owned by the city. The small strip of land sits directly across from the Alamo.

In a letter to Mayor Julian Castro, Patterson requests the city "take steps to rejoin the Plaza to the adjacent Alamo complex and place it under state control" through a title transfer or long-term lease.

Patterson believes "that would allow state resources to be used to control and improve the plaza."

According to the letter, Patterson also believes "that a singular authority over the Alamo and the Plaza would yield the greatest progress toward the shared goal of returning the Plaza to a place of historical integrity dedicated to quality historical interpretation and heritage tourism."

Patterson said his main goal is to make the Alamo more historically accurate.

"I haven't heard anyone who opposes making the Alamo closer to what it was in 1836 so people can see the big picture," Patterson said in a phone interview. "We could expand the footprint, not necessarily to what it was in 1836, but we could certainly expand it. We can make it more historically accurate. We can enhance the visitor experience. We could attract more tourists and more importantly we could have an opportunity to more accurately display Texas history."

The plaza is located in Councilman Diego Bernal's district. He's currently putting a committee together to create a new master plan for the plaza and the area surrounding the Alamo.

"There was a conceptual plan in 1994 and that was great work and we're using that as a jumping-off point," Bernal said. "We've never had a master plan saying this is what the Alamo should be, here are the mechanisms to get there, here's how we fund it. We've never had that so we're going to finally do that for the first time."

Bernal said the committee will be made up of 21 people and will take about a year to study the issue, create the master plan and enact it.

Bernal said the city and state have similar goals, he just wants the state to give his committee time to do its work.

"I think we can all agree the Alamo area could be a lot better," Bernal said. "I don't blame him (Patterson) for being interested and I think we all have to work together cooperatively. In our process the state and the federal government have a seat at the table but right now we're so close to getting this going,  we're so close to getting moving, let's get as much done as we can. In the future we should have all kinds of conversations but let’s not short-circuit something that should have happened 20 years ago."