San Antonio City Council celebrated the 178th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo today by beginning the process of upgrading, renovating, and perhaps making major changes to Alamo Plaza, 1200 WOAI news reports.
Lori Houston, who heads the city’s Center City Development Office, says in addition to historians, tourism officials and former Mayor Howard Peak, the committee will have room for representatives of the state and federal governments.
"There are several options for the state government designee," Houston said. "As far as the federal government designee is concerned, you have the Post Office right there, that's owned by the federal government."
The committee will study a wide range of options, including closing Alamo Street, demolishing the tourist-focus buildings on the west side of Alamo Street, moving or demolishing the Cenotaph, and building 'museums or history centers' on the Plaza.
Councilman Joe Krier pointed out that in his years as President of the Greater Chamber of Commerce, he took hundreds of tour groups and VIPs through Alamo Plaza, and they 'never ceased to be underwhelmed' by the experience.
Opponents say Alamo Plaza is too small, does not give visitors a full picture of what the 1836 battle was like, and is surrounded by too many tourist traps.
Houston says the committee will have experts at its disposal.
"If the committee feels like they are missing something and they want to hear more about the Battle of the Alamo, we will bring in an expert to talk about that," she said.
The city's charge says the goal of Alamo Plaza should 'share the story of the people and their culture, provide the history of Texas and the City of San Antonio, and symbolize man's quest for self-determination.'
Several Council members said the report should take into consideration not just the Alamo and the Battle of the Alamo, but the entire Mission System and the lives of the native Americans and Mexican citizens who inhabited the site before the Battle.
The committee will issue a report to City Council in the Spring of 2015. Then a master plan will be developed and should be completed by the Fall of 2015.