ORLANDO, Fla. — The onePULSE Foundation is unveiling the Orlando nightclub’s “interim” memorial Tuesday, designed to be a temporary tribute to the victims and survivors of the 2016 mass shooting.
During a dedication ceremony Tuesday, Pulse nightclub owner and onePULSE Foundation founder Barbara Poma thanked local companies that contributed to the project. She also praised the survivors and family members of victims who helped guide its design.
“They gave selflessly to make decisions for those who could not,” she said.
The memorial at the site of Pulse nightclub at 1912 S. Orange Ave. will be open for the public at 3 p.m., the nonprofit said Monday in a statement. The interim memorial is opening just over a month before the second anniversary of the nightclub massacre that claimed 49 lives and injured dozens.
In a statement, the onePULSE Foundation said they hope the temporary place will “give families, survivors, first responders and the thousands of people who come each year a space to pay their respects and reflect.” Planning and designing for a permanent memorial and museum is underway.
On Tuesday, Poma quoted the Dalai Lama in praising the community’s support for the memorial project: “He says, ‘Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them, humanity cannot survive.’ I really do feel that everyone here is a reflection of that statement.”
Poma said the design emerged directly from the input of those affected by the Pulse massacre.
“Everything you will experience here is intentional,” she said. “It has purpose.”
The Orlando City Council approved the design for the interim space in October, including a wood fence around the club, lighted benches and a perforated steel wall for visitors to leave mementos. Construction began on Feb. 26 and was expected to take about 60 days.
The foundation has been working with the Orange County Regional History Center to collect and preserve for the permanent memorial the various works of art, messages and other remembrances left behind at the site by visitors.
Christina Hite, president of Dix.Hite + Partners landscape architects, which donated its services, said more help will be needed to make the final version of the Pulse site a reality. “We need all of your help in reaching our dream for a permanent memorial museum that meets the vision of all stakeholders,” she said.
Poma stressed that the interim design is just that — and a long road lies ahead.
“I ask you to realize that we have truly just begun. … This is our responsibility. It is our legacy for all future generations,” she said. “This is part of both Orlando and world history and it’s going to take all of us to get it done right.”US