I f San Antonio had said it would lock the doors of the Alamo, it would be comparable to Rockdale not being able to keep the I&GN Depot-Museum going.
That may be an exaggeration but the two iconic structures do have something in common. They are symbols for their communities.
Big difference is that the Alamo has established benefactors with deep pockets and the depot has, well, some dedicated and tireless volunteers and that’s about it.
So when some unexpected expenses jumped up—mostly an air conditioning project—the Rockdale Historical Society said closing the 108-year-old lovingly-restored structure might be an option.
That didn’t mean the Society wanted that action. Far from it. But Napoleon once said “you cannot conquer a map.”
You can’t conquer a balance sheet either.
But the society came before the city’s tourism committee with a request for $11,280 in hotel-motel (HOT) tax funds to meet the crisis and the city council pared it down to $7,000 in its Monday session.
The depot will stay open.
It’s hard to imagine a more justifiable use of HOT funds, which are collected by local motels and are only supposed to be spent for tourism related reasons.
The depot is not only the town’s landmark, and has served as a logo more than once, it’s a prominent feature of every downtown activity.
If the depot museum isn’t a tourist-related location for Rockdale, we don’t have one.—M.B.