ORLANDO, Fla. - Nearly seven years since the shooting massacre at Pulse Nightclub in downtown Orlando, plans to build a national memorial to remember the 49 people killed and 53 people injured have been continuously stalled amid fights over the expense, timeline, and ultimately where to build it.
In April, the onePULSE Foundation, the nonprofit charged with building the memorial, announced that its longtime founder Barbara Poma had left the organization. Weeks ago, it was revealed that the owners of Pulse nightclub and the foundation were unable to reach an agreement to acquire the nightclub property, forcing leaders to rethink their plans.
"Change, its part of life, isn't it?" said Executive Director Deborah Bowie, who replaced Poma to lead the organization after she left. "So, I think we're not unique in that a lot of organizations had plans before COVID, and then after COVID you have to really re-think them."
She said new plans for a memorial are still in the works, but compared to the originals, which ballooned to $100 million, those plans had to change and would be scaled down.
She said the new plans would use an existing warehouse on the museum's property, though it's still being determined on where to specifically build the memorial – closer to the nightclub, the museum, or somewhere in the middle?
Details on what the new version of the memorial would look like weren't released. But, Bowie said those revised plans would be ready by the end of summer.
After news broke that the memorial would not be built on the nightclub's property, some called for a criminal investigation.
"I’m angry. I’m sad. My son and his boyfriend were slaughtered along with 47 others," said Christine Leinonen whose son Christopher was killed in the mass shooting.
"Ask the OnePulse foundation what have they been doing for seven years. There’s no memorial. There’s nothing," she told FOX 35 previously.
On the other side, some families previously told FOX 35 that they're against any type of museum as a memorial.
Ahead of the June 12 anniversary, the Pulse Community Rainbow Run will happen on Saturday at Wadeview Park in Orlando.
The remembrance – titled "Strength" – will be held from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m. at Dr. Phillips Center for the Performing Arts in downtown Orlando.