Alamo director Kate Rogers details $400M project in Laredo visit

Alamo director Kate Rogers details 0M project in Laredo visit

A $400 million project transforming the Alamo to best tell its complex history spanning 300 years was announced this week by Kate Rogers, executive director of the Alamo Trust, Inc. presented while visiting Laredo for a Remember the Alamo event.

“It’s about creating a sense of reverence and respect,” Rogers said. “When you get to the site, you have to know you’re coming to a place of historical significance.”

The Remember the Alamo event outlining the Alamo plan was held on Wednesday, February 8 at the Tesoro Club of La Posada Hotel. John Keck of Laredo led the charge to organize the event because of his passion for the project.

“There’s not a lot of people even in San Antonio who know how big this project is,” Keck said. “It will mushroom the outreach and engagement of the history lessons of everything surrounding the Alamo, the missions in San Antonio and all that area of ​​history that so many people either don’t understand or don’t fully appreciate.”

Other Laredoans involved in bringing Rogers and her team to Laredo include Teena and Joe Arciniega, Nancy and Javier de Anda, Claudia and Larry Friedman, Ceci and John Keck, Linda and Steve LaMantia, Toni and Vito Ruiz, and Maya and Fernando Zuniga. Joe Arciniega has a special affinity with the Alamo as a direct descendant of Jose Gregorio de Arciniega and Jose Miguel de Arciniega who both play important roles in its history.

“The Alamo has a legacy that sets Texas apart from anywhere else in the world,” Arciniega said. “I am proud to have direct family ties to it, and I am grateful to Kate and the Alamo Trust for their care and plans that will ensure it for generations to come.”

The Alamo Plan is a three-pronged approach. It aims to preserve the 300-year-old church and long barracks, reclaim the original mission site and battlefield footprint, and create a visitor center and museum that tells the story.

“Both structures, but most of all the church, have suffered a lot of mortar loss and stone loss over the last decade or more due to the movement of moisture and salt in the walls,” Rogers said. “We have a lot of work to do. There has been a lot of analysis of what needs to be done to preserve the structures for future generations, and now is the time to do that work.”

Part of the plan includes creating a visitor center and museum that will feature a 4D theater, event spaces, a restaurant and a rooftop gallery. There will also be revisions to the gardens with the addition of an education center and a collection center, and the Upper Paseo and Lower Paseo green spaces will be developed to connect them to the San Antonio Riverwalk.

The exhibition center is the first ground-breaking work on the Alamo site since the 1950s. It is the first part of the project to be completed and is planning a grand opening on March 2 in honor of Texas Independence Day.

“This is a huge game changer for us,” Rogers said. “It provides approximately 14,000 square feet of museum-grade storage space for the artifacts in the Alamo collection, which we have never had before. We only had room at the Alamo to display about 1% of the collection. It changes it fivefold.”

Other timelines for completing parts of the project include a new south gate in fall 2023, the education center in fall 2024, the outdoor plaza and Paseo construction in late 2023, 2024 and 2025, and updates to the church and long barracks by 2024 and 2025. The final step of the Alamo plan will be the opening of the visitor center and museum in 2026 with the hope of completing it in time for the 190th anniversary of the Battle of the Alamo on March 6.

Some new features planned for the exhibition hall and collection building include an exhibition of famous visitors over the years, an interactive artefact display with digital enhancements and a room specially designed to display paper documents previously relegated to storage due to conservation concerns. There’s also a new Alamo app soon to be released, which will feature augmented reality that displays virtual reconstructions of how the site has appeared over the years.

“We’re going to show people through an augmented reality app how the structures have changed and evolved over time and who left their mark on the church during that time,” Rogers said. “It’s a great way for people to understand the complexity of the history of the Alamo.”

The new visitor center and museum will feature an exhibit on civil rights in San Antonio, a 4D theater and exhibits on the Native Era, the Missionary Era, Mexican Rule and the Texas Revolution, the Battle of the Alamo and more. Rogers said it’s important to highlight the dark aspects of the Alamo’s history as much as the positive, especially when it comes to Mexican rule and the Texas Revolution.

“It’s obviously a very complicated part of the story, but a very important part of the story for people to understand the events leading up to the battle,” she said. “We are also going to talk about the role of slavery in the Texas Revolution. That was a factor. There were people on both sides of that issue at the time. It is true that the cotton trade and slavery in Texas grew exponentially after the Texas Revolution.

“We will deal with it in a very honest and factual way. I think it’s great that we’re told on both sides. We want all people to be able to see themselves in the story of the Alamo.”

An immediate upgrade to the Alamo was the closing of parts of downtown streets to clear the site. Alamo Street is already closed between Crockett Street and Houston Street, and more closures are in the works.

“It’s already made a huge difference in terms of the feel of the site,” Rogers said. “You no longer have a traffic crossing in front of the Alamo. It also allows us to use that space in front of the Alamo for our living historians to do major activations.”

Laredo has direct ties to efforts to close another area involved in the renovation of the Alamo. Laredoan Vince Cantu owns the Moses Rose’s Hideout bar located at 516 E. Houston St. After negotiating with Cantu since 2016 and seeing several offers that were above the appraised value rejected, including one for $3.5 million, the city council on Jan. 26 approved the use of eminent domain.

“It sits right where we’d like to do our civil rights exhibit,” Rogers said. “The state has been unsuccessfully trying to negotiate with him since 2016.”

Negotiations with Cantu are one of many expenses and obstacles to crossing the finish line to complete the project in 2026. Rogers is confident they will achieve their goals, thanks in part to a wide array of strong support. The state provided $125 million combined over the past two sessions, the city gave $38 million, the county provided another $25 million, and the Alamo Trust, Inc. privately raised another $33 million.

“This plan is one that has broad support from a number of different factions that do not always agree on everything. The city of San Antonio is a very strong partner. The fact that they were willing to exercise eminent domain to help with the project is a testament to their support,” Rogers said. “The county has never supported the project, but came on board with $25 million a few years ago. The state has given unprecedented levels of support. From the top there is strong support for the completion of the project. We are very optimistic that we will eventually get it right.”

For more information about the project and updates on its completion, visit

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