Pulse nightclub to become national memorial

The gay nightclub was targeted by a lone gunman in June 2016

Pulse nightclub to become national memorial

Eric Sorenson pays his respects as visitors flock to the roadside memorial at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida | Image: TNS/ABACA/ABACA/PA Images

A Florida nightclub where 49 people were killed in a mass shooting last year is to become a national memorial.

The gay Pulse nightclub was targeted by a lone gunman on June 12th, 2016 in the worst US terror attack since September 11th.

Barbara Poma, owner of the club, announced a community-driven initiative to establish a national memorial to the tragedy.

In a press conference in front of the nightclub, Ms Poma introduced a board of trustees for the onePULSE Foundation - created to make the permanent memorial a reality.

Ms Poma, who serves as CEO and executive director of the foundation, explained the effort to establish a national memorial will involve significant community engagement from volunteers including victims’ families and survivors.

"The community most impacted by this horrible event in our history should determine the future of the Pulse site and how their loved ones and the events of that day should be memorialised," she said.

Pulse nightclub owner Barbara Poma speaks at a news conference announcing plans for a memorial at the site | Image: John Raoux/AP/Press Association Images

"I remain awestruck by how many people have stepped up and committed their hearts to this project.

"I am profoundly grateful to the members of the new board of trustees who have joined with me to guide the future of this project."

Other board members include singer Lance Bass, Bank of America senior vice president Cathy Brown-Butler, retired NBA player Jason Collins and US ambassador to Luxembourg Robert A Mandell.

Ms Poma says she has sought expert counsel from foundation teams with Oklahoma City and the National September 11th Memorial.

She hopes to open the memorial sometime in 2020.

"We remain grateful for the support that continues; helping the families and survivors heal continues to be of utmost importance to so many and our hope is that this memorial process will show that hate will not win".