COMMITTEE LOOKS AT ALAMO MANAGEMENT
(AUSTIN) — The way the state's most famous historical site, the Alamo, is managed could change under two bills considered Tuesday by the Senate Administration Committee. Perhaps the most important symbol of the Texas Revolution, the Alamo has been under the custodianship of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas since 1905. That year DRT prevented the destruction of part of the historic mission by hotel developers, and the Legislature named the DRT caretakers of the site, charging them with preservation and management of the site. Recent controversies, including an attempt to trademark the word Alamo, an Attorney General investigation into the finances and operations of the Alamo, and a $900,000 contract with a marketing firm to promote the site, have raised concerns among lawmakers.
The bills considered Tuesday, both authored by San Antonio Senator Leticia Van de Putte, would permit the DRT to remain the custodians of the site, but would add state oversight. The first bill, SB 1839, would keep DRT as the sole caretaker, but would require them to submit an annual report to the Texas Historical Commission, the Governor and the state Comptroller. The report would have to include copies of any audits or reviews conducted regarding the management and operation of the Alamo, the annual operating budget of the site, documentation of all accounts and transfers to and from accounts, and any agreements that DRT enters into with outside companies or agencies. It would also establish an advisory panel, comprised of DRT members as well as representatives from local and state historical commissions. This panel would develop aplan for the long-term preservation and restoration of the mission.
The second bill, SB 1841, would still permit the DRT to act as caretaker, but in partnership with the Texas Historical Commission. This follows the model already used by the state for the National Museum of the Pacific War in Fredricksburg. The bill would clearly state what the duties of each organization would be, and Van de Putte said the partnership would allow the state to keep a close eye on Alamo operations.
Members of the committee will deliberate over both bills to decide which approach best fits the needs of the state's top tourist attraction. The bills remain before the committee.
The Senate will reconvene Wednesday, April 13 at 11 a.m.