Construction on an interim memorial at the gay nightclub Pulse will start next week as plans for a permanent tribute are finalized.
The onePULSE Foundation
announced it would begin construction on Monday, Feb. 26, at the site of the massacre where 49 people were shot and killed in 2016. There will be several changes to the Pulse site, including a new fence around the perimeter of the nightclub that will be covered in a new photo mural focused on the community outpouring of love and support after the massacre.
The iconic Pulse sign will be enhanced with an encasement and a removable canvas on its base where people can leave messages. Pulse owner Barbara Poma
told the Orlando City Council in October that the site would also include: a shorter, perforated "offering wall" where people could leave flowers and other tributes; framed views of areas on the Pulse building; a display with the names and pictures of the 49 victims; and a "survivor grove" area with shade trees, increased lighting, artificial turf, enhanced seating and walkways.
"As we move to create a permanent memorial and museum to honor the 49 precious lives that were taken, we also know the importance of ensuring the families, survivors, first responders, and the community continue to have a place to reflect on what happened here," Poma said in a statement.
The onePULSE Foundation says the new elements will be installed at the Pulse site with "minimal impact on the surrounding community" and work should take about 60 days. The organization is also working with the Orange County Regional History Center to collect all the tributes left at Pulse. Families and survivors are invited to pick up any personal items they left at the site. Curators at the history center will pick up remaining items this Sunday, Feb. 25.
"We are dedicated to ensuring that the lives taken, all those affected, and the outpouring of public support are not forgotten,” said Pam Schwartz, chief curator for the history center, in a statement. "We will use the utmost care and sensitivity in preserving the items that were so lovingly created and placed here – they will be integral as the onePULSE Foundation plans the museum."
The onePULSE Foundation has said it intends for the interim memorial to exist for up to two years, with three possible one-year extensions, as a permanent memorial is constructed. The organization is also holding community meetings
in Orlando and Kissimmee to get the public's input on the future memorial.