Group wants Alamo plans to focus on visitors

May 13, 2010 11:05:54 AM PDT
The Texas Historical Commission has urged the Alamo's overseers to focus plans for a new building on visitor needs rather than a library. The Daughters of the Republic of Texas, which oversees the site under an agreement with the state, have been trying to raise $50 million for projects at the popular tourist attraction. Plans in 2007 called for a new building that would include an auditorium and exhibit space near the 18th century mission made famous by the battle between Texans and the Mexican army.

But updated plans now call for the building to be used as library space -- something the historic commission says is not the best use of the space.

Executive Director Mark Wolfe told the DRT in an April 26 letter to take a "more holistic approach." He said the building would be best used for needs of the Alamo site and visitors.

The library collection at the Alamo now sits in a cramped 1950 building on the grounds and contains items about the Alamo along with genealogy, politics and other Bexar County historical documents unrelated to the Alamo. DRT members have been split over whether the library contents need to remain on the Alamo grounds or could be moved to another location, like Austin where the state archives are kept.

The DRT, which began their annual meeting in Houston on Thursday, has had a series of internal flaps over the last several years about how to preserve and renovate the Alamo site.

The governor's office recently got a 90-day delay on the DRT's claim for a trademark on the words "The Alamo." The application will undergo review by a federal board if the governor objects.

Last week, the Attorney General's Office informed the DRT that a member had complained the group failed to respond to an inquiry made under the Texas Public Information Act.

The member, Sarah Reveley, had requested documents related to repairs and preservation at the site. She said she received some data on the chapel's roof, which has cracks and leaks, but not other documents on preservation efforts.

The DRT says Reveley's complaint is meritless and that the organization has acted in the "best interests of the Alamo."


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