Future facelift: West U.S. 192 corridor to get makeover in Osceola County

Consultants have begun drafting guidelines that would change the look of the aesthetics of the West U.S. Highway 192 tourist corridor.

Kissimmee’s West U.S. Highway 192 tourism corridor may be getting a new look.

Fresh design elements for Osceola County’s tourist main drag have been bounced around by the W192 Development Authority board for at least two years, but initial concepts finally emerged at a recent meeting April 4.

Consultants from a company called Logan Simpson began drafting ideas and guidelines last year that will consider changes to aesthetics like the color of sidewalks, landscaping accents and benches, as well as exterior styles of businesses.  

Unique features will be introduced to address the individual character of each of the corridor’s eight subsections along the 15-mile stretch.

Certain aspects of U.S. 192’s look will remain, but other touches, like its purple and blue color scheme, may be phased out.  

New designs won’t affect existing businesses though, said W192 Development Authority Director Christina Morris.

“It only applies to new businesses that come to the corridor,” she said. “Or when existing ones renovate, they will need to adhere to the new adopted design codes.”

One goal of the streetscape design is to shed a “one size fits all” approach in favor of variances unique to different parts of the road. For example, the area around the new Margaritaville Resort will feature a Key West theme with palm trees and public art. The section near Celebration will borrow elements from the Disney-created neighborhood, such as its white picket fences, while the area around Old Town and the future Magic Place development will allow more freedom and creativity.

The re-designed area will end by Hoagland Boulevard, and concepts call for a more toned-down, nature-themed look in that area.

But it will still be a while before residents and tourists catch a glimpse of the iconic thoroughfare’s new makeover.

Logan Simpson consultants will now go back and tweak initial designs after getting feedback from board members April 4. Public outreach to businesses along the corridor will follow to familiarize them with the concept.

Morris said consultants have already met with planning and zoning staff at the county for further guidance and direction.

Morris hopes to bring forward final design elements to the Osceola County Commission by September or October to adopt into the county’s code.

“There’s a lot of process still to go,” Morris said.

Businesses along the corridor won’t pay for streetscape improvements, Morris said. That will come from the W192 board, which currently uses what’s known as Municipal Service Benefit Unit (MSBU) funds to maintain fixtures like bus stops, light poles and landscaping.

Since plans are in the earliest stages, there are no cost estimates attached to the project yet, but Morris said the authority board would tackle the work in phases as funding permits.