Survey steers plans for permanent Pulse memorial

By Jeff Allen, Reporter
Last Updated: Sunday, January 28, 2018, 10:34 AM EST

It will likely be several years before a permanent Pulse memorial becomes a reality. But the One Pulse Foundation is using the results of more than 2,000 surveys to come up with plans for what the memorial will look like.

Jose Diaz-Roman was supposed to meet up with a couple friends at Pulse the night of the mass shooting, but his plans changed at the last minute. Those two friends he was going to meet up with were both killed at Pulse.

It took Diaz-Roman three months to get up the courage to visit Pulse. When he did, he said it was an unbelievably emotional experience.

“There was a girl passing by and she asked me if she could give me a hug because I was devastated,” said Diaz-Roman.

Diaz-Roman was one of several people who listened in Saturday afternoon as Pulse owner Barbara Poma detailed plans for a permanent memorial. The One Pulse Foundation sent out surveys weeks ago asking for input from Pulse survivors, family of victims, first responders, and other members of the community.

“Everything from what you would like to see when you’re there, how you want to feel when you’re there, who to honor, what to address,” said Poma.

The results from those surveys are now in and on at least one issue, people seem to be divided. About half surveyed want the nightclub building torn down. But the other half want it to remain standing as part of a permanent memorial.

“I think they should keep the building itself because that would be the principal connection, not only for the tragedy of the 49 lives that were taken, but to what Pulse was for the community,” said Diaz-Roman.

In the coming months, the foundation will replace the old fences that surround the club with a more polished temporary memorial that will include places to sit.

Poma said she wants the temporary and permanent memorial to both be places where people can not just grieve, but also celebrate love and the lives lost.

“Hate is still there, and we need to make sure we’re fighting to not let hate win,” said Diaz-Roman.

Poma while she doesn’t want to nail down an exact timeline on when the permanent memorial will be built, she hopes plans for it are finalized by this summer.

“I’m inspired everyday to keep going forward with this project,” said Poma. “To me it’s an honor to have this task.”