BRIGHTON — Surrounded by an abundance of love and love bugs, Tribal officials broke ground April 23 for nine new homes in the Knots Landing area of Brighton. Tribal Council and the Board joined forces and worked together on the project.
“This is the opportunity to bring more Tribal members back to the community,” said Brighton Board Rep. Larry Howard. “It’s been a long time coming. It’s always been our goal to bring people back and as long as we bring them back one at a time, eventually we can get everyone.”
The three, four and five bedroom rental homes should be completed by the end of this year. Seminole Design-Build, Tribal member David Nunez’s business, is the contractor on the job.
“This is another momentous occasion for the Tribe and its members,” said Chairman Marcellus W. Osceola Jr. “We will be giving out keys in the next seven months to tribal members who will be here for many generations to come.”
Chairman Osceola said this has been a big year for residential groundbreakings, starting with Lakeland, then Big Cypress, now Brighton and Hollywood will be next by the end of summer.
“We have the capital, the knowledge and the team to do it, so we are,” Chairman Osceola said.
“Council decided to set aside land on the reservations to provide housing that is needed,” said Brighton Councilman Andrew J. Bowers Jr. “It is a step in the right direction to meet those needs and get people to move back to the reservation.”
President Mitchell Cypress mentioned how the project came together.
“Board and Council came up with the idea and we had the funds to do it,” he said. “With teamwork, this administration gets things done.”
The Knots Landing project is just one of many being developed on about 2,500 acres of land around the reservations.
“There will be 500 acres altogether in Brighton,” said Tribal Community Development Senior Director of Operations Derrick Smith. “We are laying a great foundation for the next 20 to 30 years. Another Tribe wrote a book after they developed 400 acres; after we get done with these 2,500 acres, we can write our own book.”
Smith showed a video of the various projects on the books for Brighton, including the Flowing Well Grove development of single family owned and rental homes. The Knots Landing site already has townhomes and more are scheduled to be built in the future. The Tucker Ridge recreation area will include a chickee village, dock area, bathrooms and walking trails.
“This is our future and it will help preserve our culture and heritage,” said Nunez. “It’s a proud moment for me. We have a good team and I’m happy to be a part of it.”
Big Cypress Councilman Mondo Tiger commended the Board and the Council for working together.
“We’re building some great homes that will be a regular standard for the Tribe now,” Councilman Tiger said. “We had some great ancestors who allowed this to happen for us; we should all thank them sometime.”