After viewing five potential designs for the new required monument signs, members of the W192 Development Authority quickly focused on one option that features a stacked stone base with cast aluminum towers flanking the sides.
"It's pretty clear where this came from," designer Luke Minton said, noting that the materials and color scheme are based on the existing mile markers on the corridor.
Address numbers would be prominently featured across the top of the structure.
"At first I thought it looked a little busy, but it's growing on me," board member Jo Quittschreiber said.
Minton with Creative Sign Designs presented the subcommittee a number of options, including one modeled after the Lynx bus shelters and another that resembled theme park signage. Both missed the mark.
"I think it’s dated and has that 'Tomorrowland' feel to it," authority member Dianna Chane said of the latter option.
The Authority has $1 million earmarked in its FY2016 budget to encourage property owners to replace pole signs with stone monuments, and will open the funding in October, executive director David Buchheit told GrowthSpotter.
Once Osceola County Commissioners adopt the sign ordinance, business owners within the Community Redevelopment District will have six years to replace their aging pole signs with the standard monument sign. The district stretches 15 miles along US 192 from Hoagland Avenue in Kissimmee to the Osceola County line, which encompasses most of Kissimmee's tourism corridor.
"Right now it’s kind of hodgepodge," he said. "We want a more uniform look."
Buchheit said he and Minton are aiming to keep the replacement cost below $25,000, but they haven't yet priced the materials and labor.
"I know it's a lot of money," he said. "But to me, that's part of why you have a CRA district - to raise the level of the look and feel of the area."
Any new business would be required to build a sign that conforms to the design standard. Existing businesses will have six years to comply, but they may have a limited time to apply for grants that could cover the full cost of the sign replacement.
To maximize the impact, he suggested designating segments within the district that would be eligible for grant funding each year. Buchheit also recommended locating the first sign at the Osceola County Welcome Center & Historical Society, and unveiling it at the launch of the grant program.
Grants will be available on a first-come first-served basis.
The design allows for a maximum of 100 square feet for the actual sign placard, but business owners could pay to upgrade to a full or partial LED sign. Buchheit said the response so far from business owners has been positive.
"Most of the larger corporations are going to monument signs anyway," he said. "What I'm hearing is 'Let me know when the grants are available and when can I apply.'"
The Authority is scheduled to vote on the design at its Oct. 8 board meeting.