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West Side landmark among ‘most endangered historic places’

‘Los Courts’ is one of 11 sites designated by the National Trust for Historic Preservation

SAN ANTONIO – Already one of the first public housing projects in the country, and the first in San Antonio, Alazan Apache Courts has been designated among 11 of the “most endangered historic places for 2020,” by the National Trust for Historic Preservation.

“We are looking for places that are endangered and of course Alazan Apache Courts is in danger of demolition,” said Katherine Malone-France, its chief preservation officer.

She said another factor was its strong local support by people trying to preserve what has been known as “Los Courts.”

Malone-France said the National Trust selected sites that demonstrate “the power of preservation to provide solutions.”

She said Alazan-Apache could provide badly-needed affordable housing in the area.

However, Michael Reyes, spokesman for the San Antonio Housing Authority who grew up there, said being that the pre-World War II building is made of cement cinder block, it would be very difficult and costly to upgrade with normal amenities such as central air and heat.

“The best thing is to start from scratch,” Reyes said.

He said residents could choose to stay after the units are rebuilt, move elsewhere with vouchers, or to other SAHA developments on the West Side.

“Preservation is not about stopping change,” Malone-French said. “It’s about allowing places that are valuable and meaningful to their communities to continue to evolve and change in a way that preserves their character.”

By demolishing the buildings, she said, “You would lose the sense of identity and meaning and belonging that comes from the community.”

Reyes said SAHA is working with community groups to try to preserve the integrity of Alazan-Apache.

“We know the importance of this neighborhood,” he said.

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