Every twenty years or so, the city's decides to take a new look at its most familiar public space, Alamo Plaza.  Since the last time any comprehensive master planning effort was done in the area was in 1994, it looks like its time to revisit the Plaza.


  City Council today is taking the first look at a proposal to restart the master planning effort 'that is respectful of the Plaza and the Alamo's history.'


  The 1994 effort resulted in major changes, including limitations on construction growth in the area, and the closing of the street in front of the Alamo itself to traffic and the expansion of the plaza.


  In 2012, the Project for Public Spaces developed a concept that identified recommendations for 'maximizing the potential of Alamo Plaza as a great destination for residents and visitors.'


  Among the recommendations; closing the current routing of Alamo Street during certain hours of the day to turn Alamo Plaza into a 'true plaza.'  There were also recommendations to further restrict the 'tourist' businesses which line the west sided of Alamo Street, and there was even a recommendation to allow on certain occasions outdoor dining on Alamo Plaza.


  Since those recommendations were made, the Texas General Land Office has taken operational control of the Alamo grounds and is more receptive to expansion of the Alamo's mission.


  Other recommendations included moving the 1936 Cenotaph to another location so it doesn't interfere with the classic 'view' of the Alamo.  Also to design a 'gateway,' possibly based on the original gates of the wall that surrounded the Alamo during and before the 1836 battle, as well as returning more of Alamo Plaza to the appearance of the battle.


  Many visitors, having seen the various movies about the Alamo, are shocked when they see the 'urban' nature of the shrine, with honking horns, tall buildings looming behind it, and it's presence in a bustling downtown.


  Council is considering appointing a committee to come up with a new Comprehensive Master Plan.  The funding will come from the 2012 bond program.


  A final recommendation will be made to Council on March 6, which is the 178th anniversary of the Battle.