The Orlando City Council on Monday voted unanimously on a change in design for the already-planned labyrinth-style walking path in Colonialtown Square Park, which will honor the victims of the Pulse massacre.
The now-iconic “Orlando United” heart logo will now serve as the center of the memorial maze, and each victim from the attack will be honored with individual pavers installed around the site. The Orlando Sentinel reports the project will be completed as soon as next week, and city officials say a dedication will be held Dec. 20.
The labyrinth path was designed so people could “engage in walking meditation as a tool for mindfulness, reflection and environmental art,” city officials said in a statement. The project was already in a planning process on June 12, 2016, when shooter Omar Mateen invaded popular gay bar Pulse and started shooting individuals. After the shooting, City Commissioner Patty Sheehan, Florida’s first out elected official and the city representative for the district where Pulse operated, envisioned the installation of the Orlando United symbol and memorials to each victim also being installed at the park.
“June 12, 2016 was one of the darkest days in Orlando history, when we became the site of the worst mass shooting in American history,” Sheehan wrote in an application seeking a city monument designation for the park. “This meditation garden will give the community a place to reflect and grieve.”
Doug Richards, Orlando’s digital communications manager, said the cost of the memorial comes from Sheehan’s discretionary budget, which can be used on enhancements to the district at a sitting councilperson’s own discretion.
The 49 victims to be honored with individual pavers include: Stanley Almodovar III; Amanda L. Alvear; Oscar A. Aracena Montero; Rodolfo Ayala Ayala; Antonio Davon Brown; Darryl Roman Burt II; Angel Candelario-Padro; Juan Chavez Martinez; Luis Daniel Conde; Cory James Connell; Tevin Eugene Crosby; Deonka Deidra Drayton; Simón Adrian Carrillo Fernández; Leroy Valentin Fernandez; Mercedez Marisol Flores; Peter Ommy Gonzalez Cruz; Juan Ramon Guerrero; Paul Terrell Henry; Frank Hernandez; Miguel Angel Honorato; Javier Jorge Reyes; Jason Benjamin Josaphat; Eddie Jamoldroy Justice; Anthony Luis Laureano Disla; Christopher Andrew Leinonen; Alejandro Barrios Martinez; Brenda Marquez McCool; Gilberto R. Silva Menendez; Kimberly Jean Morris; Akyra Monet Murray; Luis Omar Ocasio Capo; Geraldo A. Ortiz Jimenez; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera; Joel Rayon Paniagua; Jean Carlos Mendez Perez; Enrique L. Rios, Jr.; Jean Carlos Nieves Rodríguez; Xavier Emmanuel Serrano-Rosado; Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz; Yilmary Rodríguez Solivan; Edward Sotomayor Jr.; Shane Evan Tomlinson; Martin Benitez Torres; Jonathan A. Camuy Vega; Juan Pablo Rivera Velázquez; Luis Sergio Vielma; Franky Jimmy DeJesus Velázquez; Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon; and Jerald Arthur Wright.
Mateen, who was killed in the attack, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State in a call to police, and his wife, Noor Salman, currently awaits trial for federal charges of obstructing justice and aiding and abetting a terrorist organization, according to USA Today. Mateen’s ex-wife, Sitora Yusufiy, says he targeted the club because he was closeted.