Orlando to buy Pulse nightclub, turn it into memorial
The city of Orlando has completed talks with the owners of the Pulse nightclub to purchase the property for $2.25 million and turn it into a memorial for the people who lost their lives there June 12.
The South Orange Avenue property has been a makeshift memorial since the attack, when a gunman opened fire in the club and killed 49 people and injured 53 others. Flowers, notes, candles, stuffed animals and thousands of other items have been left at and around the Pulse nightclub since the attack, and now, the city plans to make it a permanent memorial.
"It's very overwhelming. This doesn't only touch Orlando, but it's nationwide," said Liz Tajchman from Austin, Texas, who came to visit the site. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer’s press secretary Cassandra Anne Lafser told on Channel 9 Tuesday morning that the deal was in place for the city to buy Pulse.
The purchase agreement will first have to go before the city council during its meeting Monday, she said.
No design plans for the coming memorial have been released.
Dyer said the property will likely stay as-is for 12 to 18 months.
"We want to figure out a process to get a lot of community input as to exactly what we will have going forward on this site," Dyer said.
The Orange County Regional History Center gathered up most of the mementos people have left behind at Pulse to remember the victims. More than 1,000 items have been preserved and kept as a piece of history.
The city hasn't said how those items might be incorporated into the new memorial.
"I think it's very important that the city take control of the site. We don't know exactly what type of memorial we want to create there. We want to get a lot of community input," Dyer said.
Tajchman said she hopes the future memorial can be used as a space to teach the world about equality.
"Where troubled LGBTQ youth can come and see what it's like and the struggles and that they're not the only ones. So it can also be a memorial, but also an education center because we can all learn from each other, Tajchman said.
Statement from Barbara Poma:
“This is a very emotional and bittersweet day for me. Never could I have imagined that the building we built as Pulse Nightclub would not be a part of my daily life. Pulse was a huge part of my heart, my soul and my family. As difficult as it is for me to part with Pulse, this transaction ensures that what has become a sacred site will be properly memorialized for generations to come.
The memories of those who were taken or were harmed, and the legacy of Pulse Nightclub and why it was established, will be preserved forever. I will be actively involved with the City as plans for a memorial begin. While this will be a long process, it will include community input. Since the day of this terrible tragedy, my commitment has been that the heart of Pulse Nightclub keep beating and now we can all be assured that will happen.”