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Lakeland Reservation project moves along at steady clip

Development on the Lakeland Reservation continues – phase one homes have been built and phase two infrastructure work has begun. (Courtesy Community Planning & Development)

Big development projects like the one taking place on the new Lakeland Reservation – about 37 miles east of Tampa – take years of planning and construction. People are eager for its completion: from tribal members waiting to move into new homes to planners at the tribe who work behind the scenes.

While officials say such projects never wrap up as quickly as many would like, the work at Lakeland has been marching forward steadily.

Harvey Rambarath, the assistant director of Community Planning & Development at the tribe, said phase one infrastructure – roads, water, sewer – has been completed and tribal members have accepted 39 new rental homes, while seven more are being finished.

Phase two’s infrastructure work is now underway. Rambarath said it’s 14% completed and is expected to be finished by the end of 2022. Construction of homes as part of phase two is expected to begin in April 2022. In addition, phase three infrastructure work is now in the early planning stages.

The Lakeland Community Building is also in the planning phase, but a design consultant has been selected and the contract for the work has been approved, Rambarath said. The consultant is expected to begin working on the building’s design in early 2022. The structure is to include the Lakeland Community Center, which will have a gymnasium, swimming pool, various support services and a dedicated parking area. Rambarath said the hope is for the building to be under construction by the end of 2023 and completed by 2025.

The Lakeland Reservation is being built for Tampa-area tribal members. More than a decade ago, the tribe purchased nearly 900 undeveloped acres in unincorporated Polk County with the intention of creating a new reservation for those who had once lived on the land where the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa now sits.

Once completed, the reservation will have about 150 single-family homes for rent and purchase on one-acre lots. The area and the land has a rural feel with abundant water features, trees and other vegetation.

Damon Scott
Damon is a multimedia journalist for the Seminole Tribune. He has previously been an editor and reporter for digital and print media in Florida and his home state of New Mexico. Send him an email at