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Pulse Shooting Museum Plans Scrapped by Foundation

Pulse Shooting Museum Plans Scrapped by Foundation

Pulse nightclub site

The news comes only days after the city of Orlando announced it would try to buy the location of the nightclub site.

A foundation formed to raise money for a museum at the Pulse nightclub shooting site announced Friday it will abandon those plans.

The onePULSE Foundation in Orlando confirmed to WFTV it will forgo plans for a permanent museum.

“After careful consideration regarding the scope of our proposed projects, including conversations with victims’ families, survivors, and the local community, as well as unforeseen challenges, the onePULSE Foundation Board of Trustees has decided it is no longer feasible to move forward with the plan to develop a museum,” Earl Crittenden, onePULSE Foundation board chair, said in a statement.

The decision came days after the city of Orlando decided to make a $2 million offer to buy the nightclub site from owner Barbara Poma.

It also ended months of chaos after a public breakup between the foundation and Poma, who founded the nonprofit after the 2016 shooting. Poma said the foundation’s mission would be to create a permanent memorial at the site.

The Pulse shooting remains the deadliest attack on LGBTQ+ people in U.S. history. Shooter Omar Mateen entered the club on Latin Night, June 12, 2016, and killed 49 people, most of them Latino or queer.

Poma founded the nightclub, opening it in 2004 in honor of a brother, John, who died of AIDS complications. Many survivors and family members of those killed in the attack have blamed poor safety measures at the club for preventing some from escaping and blocking police from easily accessing the building.

The relationship between Poma and the foundation devolved recently, and the two parted ways. The foundation for years intended to buy the site from Poma, but in financial disclosures it discovered she had already been paid a substantial sum from insurance for her losses.

“The onePULSE Foundation Board of Trustees found it no longer appropriate to pay the Pomas for the nightclub property after recently discovering that insurance proceeds paid off debt for the nightclub and asked for a full donation from them and their business partner, Michael Panaggio,” onePulse Foundation spokesperson Scott Bowman told the Orlando NBC affiliate.

The city now plans to buy the land from Poma. Notably, the $2 million offer is less than a sum Poma rejected months after the shooting.

Survivors of the attack have increasingly been publicly at odds with the onePulse Foundation, which has announced little progress on a memorial over its seven-year existence.

“Pulse and the Poma legacy has always been about how to flip a profit!” said Christopher Hansen, a survivor of the attack. “She even sold the club to here LLC for $100, so where exactly is that in the media for her wanting to ensure something happens for our community in honoring those affected by her place of business that was full of illegal violations, renovations, and entrepreneurship?”

Poma told WESH in Orlando this summer that she and her husband were willing to donate their share of the land to the foundation but that a business partner was not interested in doing so.

The onePULSE Foundation still lists the creation of a museum as a project on its website.

The foundation opened an interim memorial on the site several years ago. City officials intend to set up a monument to victims but not a museum.

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