THE Fraser Coast Regional Council is calling on Maryborough CBD business owners to beautify their buildings, in an attempt to improve the city's image.
The council has gone as far as offering grants to help persuade business owners to freshen up their buildings.
Bruce Saunders, the owner of gelato shop Scoops on Bazaar said he recently had a tourist compare the Heritage City to the dirty and crime-filled US city of Detroit.
Mr Saunders, who owns his building, said the time for talk was over and the council needed to act to save the city.
"I couldn't count the amount of times I've had tourists disgusted," he said.
Mr Saunders, who works with nearby businesses to keep their precinct clean and well-kept, said he believed the poor maintenance was often the business owners' fault, not the tenants'.
"We've reached a critical point in Maryborough... council are on the right track but need to enforce it," he said.
Under the Streetscape Scheme businesses employing fewer than 20 people will be able to apply for grants up to $1500 and $2500 if the property is on the heritage register. The grants are on a
dollar-for-dollar basis and can make up to 50% of the total cost of approved works.
Robyn Lorenz, operator of the Royal Centrepoint Hotel/Motel and owner of the entire iconic Royal complex on the corner of Bazaar and Kent Sts said she had already applied for a $2500 grant, after receiving a letter last week.
Ms Lorenz said renovations to the Royal were slow due to high rates, insurance and the sheer size of the building. She said she would be more than happy to supply paint if work-for-the-dole participants were able to volunteer their time to paint the Royal.
"The town badly needs painting of the old buildings," she said. "It would look beautiful."
City and Town Centre Development portfolio councillor Daniel Sanderson said the appearance of buildings was raised often during the public consultation phase of the Imagine This City 2013 - 2018 Strategy.
"There were quite a few comments about the state and amenity of CBD buildings and that some building facades needed repairs."