Construction of interim Pulse memorial begins next week

PHOTO: Construction on an interim memorial to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting massacre will begin Feb. 26, 2018. Here, a rendering of the memorial.PlayonePULSE Foundation
WATCH First responders to Pulse shooting describe eerie scene inside club

Construction begins Monday in Orlando on a temporary, interim memorial to pay tribute to the 49 people who were killed 20 months ago during a shooting massacre at Pulse nightclub, a popular LGBT venue in the city's downtown, the onePULSE Foundation announced Thursday,

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"As we move to create a permanent memorial and museum to honor the 49 precious lives that were taken, we also know the importance of ensuring the families, survivors, first responders, and the community continue to have a place to reflect on what happened here," onePULSE Foundation executive director Barbara Poma said in a statement.

Poma continued, "The interim memorial will provide areas to leave messages, and will include seating, shade, lighting, and trees –- creating a meaningful and inviting space while planning is under way."

PHOTO: Construction on an interim memorial to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting massacre will begin Feb. 26, 2018. Here, a rendering of the memorial. onePULSE Foundation
Construction on an interim memorial to honor the victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting massacre will begin Feb. 26, 2018. Here, a rendering of the memorial.

The onePULSE Foundation is a non-profit organization incorporated to manage the design and construction of a permanent museum and memorial dedicated to the Pulse tragedy.

Forty-nine people were killed, and more than 100 others were injured on June 12, 2016, when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire on the nightclub. The federal trial for Mateen's wife, Noor Salman, begins March 1. She faces charges of aiding a former terrorist organization and obstruction of justice.

PHOTO: A makeshift memorial is seen outside the Pulse nightclub, a month after the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., July 11, 2016. John Raoux/AP, FILE
A makeshift memorial is seen outside the Pulse nightclub, a month after the mass shooting in Orlando, Fla., July 11, 2016.

As part of the process of creating the interim memorial, the onePULSE Foundation will work with the Orange County Regional History Center to collect and conserve all of the artifacts, works of art, messages, and other memorial items left at the site. Families and survivors have been invited to take home any personal items and messages they left at the site. Orange County Regional History Center staff will collect the remaining items on February 25.

PHOTO: Wayne Dominici, 23, cries on the shoulder of his aunt, Ada Dominici, July 12, 2016, at a memorial outside Pulse, the gay nightclub where a shooter killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida. Loren Elliott/The Tampa Bay Times/AP Photo
Wayne Dominici, 23, cries on the shoulder of his aunt, Ada Dominici, July 12, 2016, at a memorial outside Pulse, the gay nightclub where a shooter killed 49 people in Orlando, Florida.

Pam Schwartz, chief curator of the Orange County Regional History Center, said in a statement, "June 12, 2016 was an historic day in Orlando’s history, and we are dedicated to ensuring that the lives taken, all those affected, and the outpouring of public support are not forgotten."

Schwartz added, "We will use the utmost care and sensitivity in preserving the items that were so lovingly created and placed here – they will be integral as the onePULSE Foundation plans the museum.”

PHOTO: Supporters of the victims of the recent mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub attend a vigil at Lake Eola Park, June 19, 2016, Orlando, Florida. Tens of thousands of people attended the vigil. John Raoux/AP
Supporters of the victims of the recent mass shooting at the Pulse nightclub attend a vigil at Lake Eola Park, June 19, 2016, Orlando, Florida. Tens of thousands of people attended the vigil.

The onePULSE Foundation reviewed and approved the interim design.

The onePULSE Foundation explained in a statement that "the iconic Pulse sign will be enhanced but not removed. A new fence will be placed around the perimeter of the nightclub itself, which will remain standing until the permanent memorial and museum designs are selected. Much of the labor involved will be completed off-site and new elements will be installed at the site with minimal impact on the surrounding community."

Work on the project is expected to last approximately 60 days and should end in late April, according to the Foundation.