Plans for public Pulse memorial collapse as owner backs out of sale to City of Orlando
The Pulse nightclub will not be taken into public ownership, as the club’s owner has backed out of plans to turn the site into a publicly-run memorial.
The gay nightclub was the scene of horrific events back in June, when 49 people were murdered and 53 people injured in the largest mass shooting in US history.
The victims were disproportionately LGBT and of Latino or Hispanic heritage.
After the clean-up of the scene concluded, a question mark remained over whether the club would re-open or be converted into a more permanent memorial to the victims.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer had led a campaign for the City of Orlando to take ownership of the site, making a formal bid to buy the club from its private owners.
However, the deal fell through this week, when owner Barbara Poma backed out of the $2.25 million deal to sell the club to the city.
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Ms Poma, who originally opened the club in memory of her late brother, said she was unable to part with the property.
She told local press that she does not know yet whether she will keep the existing club building standing, but has pledged to create a “permanent memorial at the existing site of Pulse NightclubW.
She said: “This decision truly came just from my heart and my passion for Pulse, and everything it’s meant to me and my family for the last 12 years since its inception.
“So I think the struggle was you know, letting it go, and it’s just something I could not come to grips with.”
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer said: “We have been informed by the owners of Pulse that they do not plan to sell the nightclub location to the City.
“We understand that this was an incredibly difficult decision for the owners and we respect their decision and are hopeful the Pulse site will continue to be a place of hope and healing that honours the victims.
“We believe it is important for the community to have input into a memorial that honours the victims and pays tribute to the resiliency of Orlando. City staff will continue to research and understand how other communities have approached the memorial process.
“As we better understand that process, and after engaging with our Commissioners and community partners, we’ll update the community on the next steps.”