Osceola County's W192 Development Authority endorsed a plan on Thursday to phase out the signature purple and teal theme along its tourism corridor in favor of a more stripped-down, neutral color palette.
"I've heard for years the purple has got to go," Authority Chairman Hector Lizasuain said. "We need to simplify it and make it more subtle."
The board held its second workshop Thursday with consultants tasked with creating a design plan for three key segments on the corridor: Margaritaville, Old Town-Magic Place and Lake Cecile. The board voted last year to to implement a new strategy focusing on defined target areas and capital projects.
GAI Consultants' Ryan Seacrist quickly zeroed in on the bright purple color scheme, which extends from the sidewalks to the signs to the streetlights. The palette, mile markers and street furniture are dated and distracting, he said.
"It's kind of sensory overload out there," Seacrist said. "When the purple was put in, at the time, it was in vogue. The place has evolved. It needs to be toned down."
The design team, from GAI's Community Solutions Group, suggested neutralizing the color palette on the corridor, with different colors for each subdistrict.
"For Margaritaville, we're suggesting you cool down the palette with silvers and grays," he said. "It's a more modern look."
The landscaping plan would use more tropical plants to tie into the resort, but the lights and signs would be painted gray. The pink sidewalks could be acid dyed to remove the color, and the existing pavers could be replaced with gray tones.
"I like the more simplified approach," board member John Classe said. "It's the appropriate direction, in my opinion. We need to declutter."
The Old Town-Magic Place segment would transition to a more classic, black and gray color palette. Live oaks and crepe myrtles would be planted for shade, but the date palms would replace the existing Washingtonia palms, which are at the end of their life cycle. Bus shelters would be repainted, and power lines would be moved underground.
The color palette in the Lake Cecile district would switch to warmer shades of brown and wood tones, but the materials would be consistent with the rest of the corridor. Here, Florida native plants such as cabbage palms and palmettos would be used.
Seacrist recommended repainting the monument signs and mile markers and fencing with each district's designated color scheme. Or the authority could go with an even more streamlined approach by removing the gold lattice work and windmills from the signs and replacing them with a color-changing LED light box.
It's a big transition for the board, which two years ago mandated all new signs on the corridor be replaced with the stone base and purple tower monument sign. The W192DA has spent millions of dollars in grants to install the new signs for scores of businesses.
Executive Director David Buchheit said changing out the signs wouldn't be cost prohibitive, because the basic structure would remain. He has been working closely with executives from Duke Energy on a plan to bury the power lines at key locations on the corridor and expects to have pricing information in March.
"The ultimate goal is to give you all real capital projects you can do," GAI team leader Kristin Caborn told the board.
She said that with their approval, the team would proceed with cost estimates for each segment. The Margaritaville segment was deemed the highest priority by the development authority, followed by the Old Town-Magic Place segment and then Lake Cecile.