Historic and Design Review Commission tables item in Alamo plan

The debate over the Alamo Cenotaph has shifted.

San Antonio – The city’s Historic and Design Review Commission tabled an item involving the first phase of the Alamo Plaza redesign this week, which includes the relocation of the Cenotaph. Dozens of people showed up to oppose the relocation, although it has already been approved. Opponents also argued which direction the Cenotaph should face.

“The Historic and Design Review Commission is considering the orientation of the Cenotaph. It’s already been approved that it’s going to be relocated. We just need to know if the Spirit of Sacrifice is facing north and south. That’s the only decision in front of them. Plus, landscaping and site design,” said Douglass McDonald, Alamo Trust CEO.

The board decided to table the item until after they were briefed on a pending lawsuit that the Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation filed against the Texas General Land Office, Alamo Trust and the City of San Antonio. Tap Pilam believes the Alamo site is a cemetery where American Indians are buried, so it should be officially recognized as such.

Understanding The Alamo cenotaph

The following are Tap Pilam Coahuiltecan Nation’s demands:

  • Demand the Alamo Trust Inc and the Texas General Land Office honor and respect the History of all people our right to participate in the human remains protocols
  • Demand the City’s UDC mandates procedures and protocols under 36 CFR Part 800 of the National Historic Preservation Act be honored, which requires the participation of next of kin and Indian tribes regardless of federal recognition
  • Demand that all organizations or groups that the Alamo site has significant importance be allowed to conduct religious ceremonies at the Alamo Chapel
  • Demand that all lineal groups participate in the Archaeological Committee of the Human Remains Protocol
  • We are also seeking a preliminary and permanent injunction enjoining the enforcement of the Texas GLO and Alamo Trust Inc. policy to exclude the organizations like ours from the Human Remains Protocol Process

Despite the lawsuit, plans are moving forward.

“We think that it should continue to face the Alamo, which would mean in the new location we would rotate the whole monument 180 degrees,” McDonald said.

McDonald said the Cenotaph needs major repair work.

“The plan includes reclaiming the site, closing Alamo Street, closing portions of Crockett Street. It includes the relocation of the Cenotaph. The plan also includes building a new museum on the west side of the property. And it also, importantly and most importantly, it includes the preservation of the church and the long brick, which are some of the oldest structures in Texas,” Douglass said.

Cenotaph relocation sparks protest with heated debate

Douglass said phase one will begin with the street closures in late January 2020. By the fall of 2020, phase one will be completed.

The HDRC is scheduled to meet on December 18 to discuss the Alamo plan once again.

Click here to learn more about the Alamo Plan.

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