City Council approves Alamo Plaza redesign

Changes include shutting down Plaza to vehicles, relocating cenotaph

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SAN ANTONIO – The San Antonio City Council on Thursday voted to move forward with the Alamo Plaza redesign.

The vote was 9-2.

"Today's vote is one of the biggest decisions that members of this council will make in their time at City Hall. This is a historic moment and a turning point that finally gives the Alamo the reverent treatment I believe it deserves," Mayor Ron Nirenberg said. "To truly tell the story of the Alamo, we must tell the entire story of the Alamo, from its establishment as a mission to the battle itself and its place as a civic gathering venue and memorial. The commercial nature of Alamo Plaza has made that difficult in the past."

The redesign includes some big changes for Alamo Plaza, including the closing of several streets, leasing land to the Texas General Land Office and authorizes the negotiation and execution of documents needed for the relocation and restoration of the cenotaph.

"As a descendant of the Alamo, approving the Alamo Plan means we can now tell the whole story of Misión San Antonio de Valero and provide enhancements for locals to once again reconnect with a piece of our City's history, all while welcoming new visitors and keeping 24/7 access, with a formal point of entrance," said District 3 Councilwoman Rebecca Viagran.

More than 50 residents signed up to speak on the proposals.

WATCH: San Antonians have their say after City Council approves Alamo Master Plan

Residents in favor of the proposals, urged for making the site more respectable.

"The Alamo means something different to everyone, and that is what drives nearly 2-million visitors a year to visit this place, to soak in the unique sites, the sounds, the history, unlike anywhere else -- not to purchase snow cones, dodge traffic, be berated by street preachers or purchase wax hands," said Wade Dillon, a former Alamo tour guide.

District 10 Councilman Clayton Perry voted against the plan.

"With this lease, in my opinion, the city of San Antonio is all but ensuring that Alamo Plaza will be a porous space rather than an open space. I find this is unacceptable and not in line with the spirit or the intent of the 1871 deed from the Catholic Church. Great plazas around the world are defined by unfettered pedestrian access, and Alamo Plaza should be no different," he said.

Residents opposed to the plan are reluctant about ceding control of Alamo Plaza to the state.

"I know the plan has a lot of good in it, but please do not close down the plaza. Do not move the Cenotaph, and let us restore the buildings," said Rose Moran.

The redesign would also reroute parades from their traditional paths through the plaza.

The changes would be finished by 2024.

About the Author:

Garrett Brnger is a reporter with KSAT 12.