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SAN ANTONIO (AP) — Alamo officials say ceremonies and other events no longer will be held in the mission church because of concerns with its deteriorating condition.

The 250-year-old church is the most recognizable part of the Alamo, which attracts more than 2.5 million visitors annually.

According to a San Antonio newspaper, the Alamo’s chief operations officer, Ian Oldaker, acknowledged in a letter to groups that have requested to gather in the church that they’ll find the decision disappointing.

But he asks them to support efforts to “preserve and protect these historic treasures.” Groups can still hold gatherings elsewhere on the 4.2-acre state-owned Alamo grounds.

Oldaker’s letter thanked heritage groups for honoring the men who defended the mission against a much larger Mexican army on March 6, 1836.

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