Pulse nightclub owner announces plans for a memorial
The owner of Pulse, the gay nightclub where 49 people were killed in a terror attack last year, has announced plans for a memorial on the site.
The attack on the Orlando venue last June also saw 53 people injured at the hands of gunman Omar Mateen, who was killed in a shootout with police.
The massacre was the worst shooting in modern US history.
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer suggested in August that the club should be taken into public ownership by the city in order to convert the entire site into a permanent public memorial.
But despite a bid of $2.25 million from the city, owner Barbara Poma refused to sell.
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 at the time that she would create a “permanent memorial at the existing site of Pulse.
“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.”
Poma’s onePULSE Foundation, which she created soon after the terror attack, will supply the funds necessary for the memorial, it is understood.
Ms Poma said she will announce the details of the memorial next week.
Last month, the US government gave the state of Florida $8.5 million to fund grief counselling for victims, witnesses and first responders to the Pulse massacre.
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The grant from the Department of Justice will also reimburse the family assistance centre which was set up just after the shooting.
Speaking to local TV station News13 at the time, Ricardo Negron – who was in Pulse during the attack – said: “It’s something so needed to ensure that the services are being given.”
Negron realised he needed counselling a month after the massacre.
“It was the difference between basically being able to function.
“I was holding it in, saying: ‘Oh, you can get through this by yourself,’” he said.
“And it got to a point where anything would trigger a reaction, a flashback. The counselling has helped a lot.
“I was fortunate enough to make it out physically unharmed.”