While last month it was reported that the city of Orlando would purchase Pulse Nightclub in the aftermath of the tragic shooting that took place in June, with plans to eventually transform the site into a memorial, it’s looking like a different path will be taken.
CNN reports that Pulse owner Barbara Poma announced on Monday that she had changed her mind on the sale of the nightclub. While Poma had earlier claimed that selling was the best way to keep Pulse’s legacy intact, she confirms that she struggled with the decision in recent weeks.
“The struggle was with letting it go, and it’s something I couldn’t come to grips with,” Poma said at a press conference. “You couldn’t put a price on it for me. I intend to create a space for everyone, a sanctuary of hope, and a welcoming area to remember all those affected by the tragedy.”
While Poma says she has no clear plans on how she will create the memorial, she promised to invite the victims and their families to contribute, along with the Orlando community.
“We’ve built businesses, but we’ve never built a memorial,” Poma said.
It was Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer who had announced the $2.25 million nightclub sale last month, though he says he respects the decision not to go through with the deal, emphasizing his hope that the site will remain a place of healing in wake of the deadliest shooting in US history.
“We believe it is important for the community to have input into a memorial that honors the victims and pays tribute to the resiliency of Orlando,” Dyer said in a statement. “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.”