Nothing has been more challenging for us at Team Better Block than the first community meeting in San Antonio for the Alamo Plaza project. We are only as good as our partners on any project we do and the group we encountered when beginning this project was fractured to say the least. The combination of multiple decade long stalled historical interpretation projects and stacks of divergent plans for the plaza had people on-guard. We had seen this before. Plans made from one perspective, usually design based and missing the local flavor, but the Alamo was going to be special. We sought to test how we could interpret the 250+ year history while adding city comforts found in other plazas, such as shade, seating and food.
We formed teams from the over 65 volunteers to tackle historical interpretation, streetscaping and food and entertainment. We mixed Alamo Plaza veterans like the Sons of the Republic with emerging downtown leaders from LOOP and challenged them to work together and create new ways to interpret history, like the ghost gate.
We strategically positioned cultural interpretation in hopes of visitors and participants in the Better Block to understand better the vast history and importance of Alamo Plaza to San Antonio and Texas history. Specifically, the overlap of Coahuiltecan/Apache story teller Isaac Cardenas with Texas Native songwriter KR Wood and special guest Carolyn Cotton Crockett, third grandaughter of Davy Crockett was a moment to remember.
Smaller details of the project like putting out games, provided by volunteers such as Kelly Beevers made the space more livable.
Team Better Block will produce a final report in the coming month detailing what worked and what didn’t from the weekend experiment. We want to thank our partners once again. You all did a great job! You showed that the multiple groups that love the Alamo, San Antonio and Texas can come together. Remember these new partnerships, continue to agitate for change, test more ideas and be open to compromise.
Thank you again to all our partners!