Friday, July 03, 2015

United Nations to Decide Alamo Designation

By Liz  Crampton, The Texas Tribune

After nine years of trying, boosters of the San Antonio Missions — including the Alamo — will find out early Sunday morning if the historic Texas shrines will join a list of other internationally recognized landmarks such as the Taj Mahal and the Pyramids of Giza.

At a meeting in Germany, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) will decide if the site of the pivotal Battle of the Alamo in 1836 will be designated as a place of cultural significance.

"We're operating as if we're going to get it," said Richard Oliver, director of communications for the San Antonio Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The nomination process, begun in late 2006, was launched by the San Antonio Conservation Society and later grew to include the city of San Antonio, Bexar County and the Texas Land Office, which manages the missions.

The latest news comes amid a turbulent period for the Alamo. In March, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush fired the site’s longtime managers, the Daughters of the Republic of Texas, citing a failure to maintain the state-owned shrine.

And in January, in response to the UNESCO nomination, state Sen. Donna Campbell, R-New Braunfels, introduced legislation banning any foreign entity from owning, controlling or managing the Alamo complex. The bill did not make it out of a Senate committee. Officials have said a designation does not open up the Alamo to any kind of foreign control.

A World Heritage designation could add up to $105 million in economic activity to Bexar County by 2025, as well as up to 1,100 jobs and as much as $2.2 million in additional hotel tax revenue, according to a 2013 report by the Harbinger Consulting Group.

This article originally appeared in The Texas Tribune.

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