By JOHN T. WARD
New signage marking Red Bank’s only hospital as ‘Hackensack Meridian Health Riverview Medical Center’ will include an illuminated sign on the Navesink River side of the facility, under a decision by the zoning board Thursday night.
The hospital sought variances for five signs, four of them on its facade facing East Front Street and one facing the waterway. The goal is to make the facility’s branding consistent with that of the other 15 hospitals in the HMH network, marketing consultant Key Whiston told the board.
The sign on the river side would replace an existing sign atop the hospital, incorporating the HMH logo without increasing in size, and would be illuminated, Whiston said.
It would also satisfy unnamed hospital board members who’ve been pressing for it, said attorney John Giunco, representing HMH.
“So this is lit all night, so Middletown can see it?” asked board Chairwoman Lauren Nicosia.
“Twenty-four hours a day, just like the hospital,” Giunco replied. “Open all the time.”
The sign would “provide a guiding light in the event there should be a disaster on the water,” Giunco added.
“There’s not too many cars coming from the river,” said Arthur Sorensen of Rumson, an attorney representing with North Shrewsbury Ice Boat & Yacht Club.
Planning consultant Andrew Janiw said the sign would also enhance visibility from the Route 35 Cooper’s Bridge and other roads.
“I’ve been on the river my whole life, and there’s no mistaking the hospital,” Sorensen responded. “You don’t need a sign on it.” He said the sign would detract from the beauty of the river, “and as a practical matter, anybody on the river can find the hospital pretty easily.”
But board member Sean Murphy said he saw the proposal as “refreshing the building. I think it enhances the property.”
The board’s approval vote was unanimous; board member Eileen Hogan, who’s husband, Tim Hogan, is a former Riverview president, recused herself from the hearing.
Riverview, founded in a onetime boarding house on Union Street 1928, was independent until its merger with Jersey Shore Medical Center in Neptune and Ocean Medical Center in Brick to form Meridian Health in 1997.
Meridian merged with Hackensack University Health Network in 2016, creating New Jersey’s largest hospital chain.