TWENTY new businesses have opened their doors in the Maryborough central business district in the past 18 months, councillor Daniel Sanderson says, with a further five planning to open soon.
"And a further nine have relocated from the outskirts of town to the CBD so we're really starting to see some progress," the councillor for city and town centre development said.
"New tenants are continually moving into the revamped Sunstate Arcade and after some dark times, residents are starting to see that we are coming out the other side.
"And of course new business means new jobs.
"It's inspiring to see people grabbing the opportunity to get into business for the first time.
"I encourage the community to really get behind all of these people and show your support.
"There is a real sense of optimism with my fellow councillors that we are turning the corner for the better.
"Investors are starting to show a renewed interest and I really feel like we are moving in the right direction."
A $3.2 million beautification plan for sections of Kent and Adelaide Sts was adopted by the council in June.
"Under the plan, the pavers will be removed and replaced with exposed aggregate and new street furniture, such as light poles, bollards and seating, public art and gardens will be installed and improve pedestrian access," Cr Sanderson said.
"The beautification work will significantly enhance the look and feel of the CBD to make it a more attractive and inviting for shoppers and investors."
He said the council would combine the project with improvements to be carried out under a $6 million project to flood proof the CBD by raising a section of Adelaide St between Kent and Sussex Sts.
The project includes raising Adelaide St by 300mm, buying a new portable 1.8m levee to use in Adelaide St and install a permanent pump station to control stormwater runoff.
The proposal would provide increased immunity until floodwaters reached 11.4m.
"The $6 million project to improve flood resilience will be funded by a $4.8 million state government grant and $1.2 million from Council," Cr Sanderson said.
"Nearly $10 million worth of work will begin in the city from early next year.
"It's a very exciting time for the region."