Tourist site planned at Waco
The site of the 1993 Waco tragedy is being reclaimed by another branch of the Davidian sect. The group wishes to convert the property into an educational centre of sorts (see below). Most interestingly, they want Waco residents to pay for the estimated $10 million it will cost to build the centre; a pretty big thing to ask of townsfolk who still associate the Davidians with the siege and ensuing reputation of the town.
FBI raided the property in April of 1993 after an investigation around the sect's leader, David Koresh, revealed he was likely polygamous with underage brides, may have abused children, and was stockpiling illegal weapons. The siege operation lasted 51 days and ended in a fire (the origins of which are still debated) and the death of 79 Davidians, including 21 children.
“Our plans are big,” said Charles Pace, leader of The Branch, The Lord of Righteousness sect of the Branch Davidians, who maintain and worship on the property at 1781 Double EE Ranch Road in Elk. “But we have to get support. We’d like to get support from local people because it’s not going to be something we can do on our own. We’d like to get the worship going like it was here before.”
The “before” that Pace refers to is not the time of Koresh and his followers, however.
“We do not want to restore what we had before Vernon Howell (Koresh’s given name) came and perverted everything,” Pace said. “We want to set the record straight and we want to make this place a healing place like it was before, when the Indians were here.”
Local developer Ray Feight Sr. is working with Pace on the renovation plans. The two say they would like to construct an Old Testament-style tabernacle, an amphitheater, a spiritual healing center, a museum showing the entire history of the land and a memorial wall containing a stone for each of the 86 people killed in 51-day standoff that ended in fire April 19, 1993.