flowers downtown

Fritz Ambrozi and his daughter Isabella Venable want to brighten up Downtown by planting lily trees around the Downtown parking garage at Sixth and Jules streets.

The parking garage at Sixth and Jules streets bursts with color this summer. Bright colorful lily trees grow all around it, adding a welcoming brightness to the gray solemn structure.

The lilies were the product of a donation and the hard work of local contractor Fritz Ambrozi and his 14-year-old daughter, Isabella Venable.

Their mission was to brighten up some of the drab parts of Downtown as well as lift spirits in these depressing times, they said.

Their mission began two years ago as a summer project for them both.

“Just driving by it every day seeing weeds growing there ... so I talked to Isabella,” Ambrozi said. “She said ‘Dad, we can do better than that.’”

The two looked online at gardening sites and lily tree bulbs caught their eyes. They decided that was what they were going to plant in the spots around the garage.

“It was a sight for sore eyes,” Venable said. “I wanted people to drive by and see lots of colors and stuff and brighten up the area, draw attention to it.”

The bulbs were planted two autumns ago. Last spring they sprouted, but this season they grew to an impressive height. They will eventually grow to 6 feet.

“First year they weren’t noticeable, but this year they’re pretty spectacular,” Ambrozi said. “This is our donation to the community for people to enjoy it. Things are so gray, just to see that can change your mindset.”

Ambrozi added that many Downtown workers and administrators have thanked him for their work. One man even told Ambrozi he enjoyed looking out his office window seeing the flowers. It brightens his mood, he said.

Venable said as corny as it may sound she feels good about giving back to the community.

“I like that people are appreciating it,” she said.

Alonzo Weston can be reached at Follow him on Twitter: @SJNPWeston.