ELLENTON -- Two new dwellings face each other across a cul-de-sac shaded by live oaks and other old Florida growth that buffers noise from Interstate 275.
The landscaping is mostly complete and construction should be cleaned up by Saturday.
"It looks like a regular home, doesn't it?" Bobbie Price said, admiring one of the homes with her husband, Floyd.
"But there's still a lot of work to do," Floyd Price said.
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He meant the dwellings and grounds but he could've been speaking of the Guardian Angels of Southwest Florida and Florida Baptist Children's Homes mission, too.
The six-bedroom foster homes, each 3,600 square feet, will be dedicated Saturday by the Guardian Angels and Florida Baptist Children's Homes. It's a milestone for a group of devout people who hatched the idea in 2005 and, blessed by community generosity, envision building a small neighborhood one day with six or seven more homes.
"After years of work we got something done," said Guardian Angels Board member Ed Dick, who helped spearhead the project. "We're going to actually have a campus with buildings -- homes with which we're going to be able to take care of children."
Occupancy by foster parents and six foster children in each dwelling is anticipated by early summer.
"When we really see the children here, it will just be amazing," said Bobbie Price, Guardian Angels Board chair.
The children, who have been removed by the state from environments of abandonment, abuse or neglect, will come from DeSoto, Manatee and Sarasota counties, placed by the Safe Children Coalition.
The coalition told the Herald in January that 33 new children were removed from crisis situations and entered into foster care in Manatee County last December. Of those 33, only three of six sibling groups were able to stay together.
"Our goal is to keep sibling groups together," Price said. "So often they're divided because so many homes cannot take four, five or six children."
The endeavor was made possible by generosity ranging from a $100,000 check to smaller donations of $5 to $10.
"We brought in $1.4 million and hadn't even had the campaign kickoff yet," said Floyd Price, also a Guardian Angels Board member.
Dick said more than $2 million has been raised and commitments made totaling another $1.5 million.
The project also benefited from contractors and sub-contractors donating work at cost or at a discount.
The first two homes, with an estimated market value near $400,000, were built for approximately $232,000 each.
"We saw the obstacles to getting here, then one by one God would take care of that obstacle," Bobbie Price said. "Somebody would step forward with a gift. It was a process of trusting, stepping forward and going."
Vin Mannix, local columnist, can be reached at 941-745-7055. Twitter:@vinmannix