City of Orlando hires third party to lead Pulse Memorial project

ORLANDO, Fla. — Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer provided an update Tuesday morning on the city’s Pulse Memorial project.


The City of Orlando said it has hired a third party to lead the project that would build trust among the families and survivors.

In a press release Tuesday, City or Orlando said it had hired Dr. Larry Schooler to help “implement a thoughtful, inclusive and efficient process for engaging and communicating with the victims’ families, the survivors and the community” in creating a permanent memorial at Pulse.

Schooler has been involved in other memorial projects, including the Virginia Beach 5-31 Memorial Committee and the San Leandro Steven Taylor Sanctity of Life Pavilion project, the city said.

Read: Orlando City Council approves $2 million purchase of Pulse Nightclub property

The city purchased the Pulse nightclub property in October 2023. Less than two months later, officials said they would lead the memorial project after onePULSE Foundation announced it would dissolve.

Dyer and Schooler spoke at a scheduled news conference at 10:30 a.m. at City Hall.

Read: Orange County will press onePULSE Foundation to release financial documents

They both discussed how they wanted the approach to be collaborative. They say they plan to conduct interviews and have small focus group discussions to gather more information on how they want the memorial to look.

Schooler says building trust with victims’ families and survivors is his first order of business.

“I’ve come to believe the only way for me to earn their trust is through deeds and actions,” Schooler said during Tuesday’s announcement. “So I intend to do what I say. I’m going to do both in terms of talking with them, reflecting back accurately what they told us, and then acting upon it in a way that they can see they’ve been heard and seen.”

Read: Central Florida marks seven years since the deadly Pulse nightclub mass shooting

In terms of the timeline of this project, Mayor Buddy Dyer says that he wants to cut the ribbon on the memorial by the end of his term.

He has previously said he wanted to see the memorial built by June 2026– the 10th anniversary of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

Schooler said over the next several months, they’ll hear from survivors and family interviews to gather input from people that would be impacted the most by the project.

He said there is also a priority to have Spanish translators involved.

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