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Trail government center moves toward construction

An exterior rendering of the forthcoming Trail government center. (Courtesy Harvey Rambarath)

Officials in Tribal Community Development (TCD) say plans for the construction of a government center to serve the Seminole Tribe’s Trail community has made significant progress. It’s a project that has been years in the making, as plans have had to go through various assessments and approvals.

Harvey Rambarath, TCD’s assistant director of Community Planning & Development, said Collier County officials and the National Park Service have recently approved the tribe’s plans. The site in the Big Cypress National Preserve is located on private land that was purchased by the tribe. It’s located at 57257 Tamiami Trail in Ochopee.

Rambarath said staff is now working on a contract to complete the design and permitting of the project so it can move on to the construction phase.

There are about 100 tribal members who live along the Tamiami Trail west of Miami. Although a government office has been operating about 30 miles away in a strip mall at 14680 SW 8th Street in Miami, led by Trail’s Tribal Council liaison Caryn Billie, access to most services has typically meant a trip to the Big Cypress or Hollywood reservations. In addition, many of the Trail community’s homes are located in hurricane vulnerable areas. The new building would contain multipurpose rooms that can be used as hurricane shelters.

Plans call for a 7,504-square-foot, two-story building on the almost two-acre site with 44 parking spaces. The first floor is to have a health services room, elder services room, gymnasium, multipurpose/hurricane shelter room, kitchen, break room, storage, and offices for Emergency Management and information technology personnel. The second floor would have administration offices, a cultural room, and another multipurpose/hurricane shelter room.

Officials said the vast majority of the site’s surrounding area is protected natural land. In addition, it is adjacent to vacant land and property owned by tribal members. Officials said a construction timeline would be forthcoming.

This Google Street View image captures the entrance to the property where the government center is to be built. (Courtesy Harvey Rambarath)
This site plan shows the property’s 10-foot wetland buffer to the north, conserved wetlands to the east, and the building to be located at the property’s south end. (Courtesy Harvey Rambarath)
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