Congressman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today joined members of the Bexar County congressional delegation in introducing the San Antonio Missions National Historical Park Boundary Expansion Act of 2013 (H.R. 885). Congressman Smith joined Representatives Lloyd Doggett, Joaquin Castro, Henry Cuellar and Pete Gallego in sponsoring the bill, which expands the boundary of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park by approximately 137 acres near Missions San José, San Juan, and Espada. This land includes a remnant of the San Juan Dam, the headgate to the San Juan Acequia, and the San José Nature Trail to the San Antonio River.
Congressman Smith: "San Antonio is a wonderful city with a strong military history and rich religious heritage. At the heart of the city's heritage are the five missions founded in 1717, including the Mission of San Antonio de Valero, which we know today as the Alamo. San Antonio Missions National Historical Park is not just a Texas landmark, it's a national treasure. I am pleased to be a cosponsor of this bipartisan bill that helps preserve and enhance the San Antonio missions for residents and visitors. This legislation is important for our culture and community. And I'm pleased that members of the San Antonio delegation can once again come together across party lines to support an issue that promotes our city and benefits our constituents."
Congressman Doggett: "We are strongest when we work together. I am on a mission together with my colleagues to ensure that the Missions National Park receives this long-awaited expansion. You can't overstate the economic and cultural importance of the park to Southside San Antonio."
Congressman Castro: "This legislation will go a long way to expand and protect the cultural and historical heritage of San Antonio. This proposed expansion will ensure that all of our residents have more access to the missions, and can enjoy these cultural landmarks for generations to come."
Congressman Cuellar: "The San Antonio missions are a crucial piece of the history of the State of Texas, and we have to make sure that the National Parks Service has the ability to make needed improvements to the park and the ability to expand the areas under its protection. The lands operated by the National Parks Service reflect our nation's historical treasures and tell the story of our country, and it is important that Texas' history is preserved and included among them."
Congressman Gallego: "Mission Espada is a treasure to San Antonio and to the 23rd Congressional District. Espada is inextricably tied to the rich culture of our community, and after many years, families still regularly congregate here. Mission Espada serves as a book-end on one part of CD 23, Mission Ysleta in El Paso as the other. I will work with my colleagues so that land surrounding the Mission is added to the designated park land."
The Spanish missions in San Antonio are a unique treasure for Texans and Americans. The San Antonio Missions National Historical Park preserves the largest collection of Spanish colonial resources in the country and is an educational, historical and cultural resource for more than one million visitors each year. The park is important to understanding of the history of Texas and the United States, and has a strong economic impact on the City of San Antonio and Bexar County.