COLLIER COUNTY, Fla. – A young builder in Immokalee is hoping to make a difference in the community with beautifully designed homes.
Allan Garcia, 25, said the homes are similar to ones you’re used to seeing in places like Naples or Cape Coral. His hope is to make the community proud, keep people there and bring new people to the area.
“We’re changing Immokalee one house at a time,” Garcia said. “Housing is a big need here.”
Completing these homes could take months.
“Immokalee is beautiful, what it has to offer is limitless when you look at it from a different lens,” Garcia said.
The one Garcia sees Immokalee through, is one of constant opportunity. Garcia and his father now own a contracting company called A&R of Southwest Florida building homes.
“When we sell our homes it’s an accomplishment more, not only for me but for our community,” Garcia said.
His parents moved here more than 25 years ago from the southwestern city of Oaxaca, Mexico.
“My father always gave me farewell speeches every day because he didn’t know if he would come back,” Garcia said.
During his childhood, his father worked long hours in the fields as a farmworker.
“I remember him telling me, ‘hey you know what, I’m going to work, but I don’t know if I’m coming back,’” Garcia said. “I get emotional talking about it because it’s my drive every day.”
Moving to Immokalee meant hope for a better life.
“It’s home. It’s what Immokalee stands for in the Seminole language, is my home,” said Michael Facundo, an Immokalee native and architect.
Just like building a home, this city started from the ground ups.
“How can we come up with a solution architecturally to create an environment where families can feel dignified and appreciated and to also be able to be inspired to move forward and do better for themselves,” Facundo said.
The hope of the new generation — to keep building the community.
“Immokalee is growing because the people of Immokalee have been able to put back into the community and grow it the way that it’s always been growing with the same feel that it’s always had,” said Luis Trejo, owner of Taco Tummy food truck in Immokalee.
Now Garcia has built his own dream home and wants the same for others in this community.