Patrick: Alamo restoration project “is badly off track”

SAN ANTONIO (KTSA News) — Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is criticizing the Alamo restoration project, blaming the Texas General Land Office for mismanaging it.

In a statement, the lieutenant governor called the design, planning and execution of the plan “is badly off track” from the original intention when the Texas Legislature approved funding to rebuild Alamo Plaza in 2015.

“Nothing defines the independent and the courageous spirit of Texas more than our iconic Alamo and, like most Texans, I treasure it. The history of the Alamo is a personal passion of mine. I do not intend to sit quietly and see this project fail,” Patrick wrote. “Millions of state dollars have already been spent to begin the initial process of restoring the current buildings at the Alamo and buying the adjacent property to reclaim much of the entire battlefield. Significant additional funding will be necessary to complete this project.”

Patrick also laid out what the Alamo project should be focusing on:

  • The primary focus of the Alamo conservation and restoration must focus on the battle itself, not the 200-year history of early Spanish settlement in Texas. That story is already impressively depicted through San Antonio’s Mission Trail.
  • Alamo Plaza should resemble, as closely as possible, the actual fort as it was in 1836. While some space limitations exist, there is room to re-create the barricade adjacent to the Alamo mission that Crockett defended, the front gate, the room where Bowie was killed, the west wall, the Trevino House inside the fort where Travis resided and likely wrote his letters, and to rebuild the long barracks where many of the defenders made their final stand.
  • To educate our children, Texans want a world-class visitor center that is interactive and tells the story of the Battle of the Alamo. The visitor center must complement the Alamo in design and not overwhelm it.

Patrick criticized some of proposed designs for the site.  He said he has seen two architectural renderings of the project and stated neither “are anything close to what the people of Texas are expecting.”

He likened the newest design to being a massive urban park with hundreds of trees, saying it looked more like New York City’s Central Park than Alamo Plaza.

“We have wasted significant public dollars on designs which most Texans would immediately reject,” Patrick wrote. “Today, I’m asking for transparency to finally be injected into the process and for the Land Commissioner to release all designs.  We simply must get the Alamo preservation project right, because what we do now will be with us forever. The Texas Historical Commission is holding a meeting later this month where I trust several Alamo issues will be addressed.”

The lieutenant governor also acknowledged that the Cenotaph does need repair, but said he has not yet heard why it must be moved.

Patrick finished his statement by saying if the General Land Office cannot handle the Alamo Plaza update, he will recommend looking for another entity that can do it.

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