ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) - There is a very different look at the PULSE Nightclub site. There’s no more colorful banner, no more candles, flowers, or stuffed animals. Today, workers are giving the site a new look to help preserve the memories.
PULSE owner Barbara Poma took pictures of the site, as construction workers brought in the heavy machinery. “I can't lie,” Poma said, “you find yourself just watching your place go through a transformation, so it's a little emotional.”
Crews were knocking down walls, ripping up blacktop, and tearing away fences. They made way for what they call the "interim memorial" to the 2016 shooting at the club that left 49 dead and dozens injured.
“It's for them,” Poma said, “PULSE was always there for them before, it's for them now. I love the community I've served for twelve years. So I'm doing this for them.”
The temporary memorial will feature a new wall covered with images from PULSE and tributes to the victims and survivors. They're also adding special panels at the base of the PULSE sign where people can keep leaving messages and items. Staff from the Orange County Regional History Center gathered the things that had been here, and they'll preserve them as part of the permanent memorial, to be installed later.
“Hopefully it looks a lot better than it does now,” observed Orlando resident Christina Sinclair, “because the fence because the metal fence was a sad sign. Hopefully they'll make it a little bit better.”
Sinclair says the site needs to give a message. “Everything else that's going on in our world, everybody needs to know how things can be,” she said, “hopefully that can teach people to not do stuff like this.”
Poma said the interim memorial should be done within sixty days. They say they hope to have the permanent memorial to the PULSE tragedy set up within two years.