- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Orlando’s Pulse nightclub will be purchased by the city and turned into a memorial for the victims of the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, its longtime co-owner said Tuesday.

In a statement, Pulse co-owner Barbara Poma confirmed reports that said the city has agreed to purchase her bar for $2.25 million and turn it into a memorial for the victims of the June 12 massacre that resulted in dozens of deaths and injuries.

“The memories of those who were taken or were harmed, and the legacy of Pulse Nightclub and why it was established, will be preserved forever,” Ms. Poma said. “Since the day of this terrible tragedy, my commitment has been that the heart of Pulse Nightclub keep beating and now we can all be assured that will happen.”

Ms. Poma and a partner opened Pulse in 2004 in memory of her brother, John, who died of AIDS in 1991, Orlando’s WTVR reported Tuesday. The club soon became a staple of the city’s gay community, but has been closed ever since an Islamic State sympathizer opened fire there June 18, killing 49 people and maiming dozens more before being killed in a standoff with police.

Plans to purchase the bar were first reported Monday by the Orlando Sentinel and subsequently confirmed by city officials and its current owners. A deal was signed Friday and is slated to be approved by the Orlando City Council on Nov. 14 and finalized by the end of the year, the Sentinel reported.

Mayor Buddy Dyer said the purchase means Pulse “is now a permanent part of Orlando’s history,” adding that the city will soon begin considering plans for a memorial there.

The goal is to “create something to honor the memory of the victims that are deceased [and] those that were injured, and a testament to the resilience of our community,” the mayor said.

“Now, we can actually secure it like we would any other piece of city property,” Mr. Dyer said. “We’re looking around the country for some people that have done something like this before. There are some folks with expertise related to this.”

While Ms. Poma described selling her bar as “emotional and bittersweet,” LGBT leaders in the city said the sale brought a sense of relief.

“We are very glad that they did this, and turned it into a place where people can pay their respects,” Terry DeCarlo, executive director of the GLBT Center of Orlando, told ABC News. “It’s become a sacred sight.

“It’s great to see that the city is still standing as one,” Mr. DeCarlo said. “We don’t shake hands now in Orlando; it’s all about hugging.”

Pulse had previously been appraised at a value of $1.65 million, or roughly $600,000 less than city officials agreed to pay, the Sentinel reported. It’ll likely remain in its current state for 12 to 18 months while the city considers future plans, the mayor said.

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