Ridgewood officials to the walls of the train station tunnels, but seem to prefer doing it on their own terms.
At the July 11 council meeting, representatives of New Jersey Transit and its advertising contractor, Titan Outdoor, provided the village council a detailed look at how they can improve the aesthetics of the historic station while boosting revenue.
The famous "Welcome to Ridgewood" mural has fallen due to a lack of maintenance and occasional vandalism in recent years. The cost of touching it up would be prohibitive, Village Manager Ken Gabbert previously said, adding that advertisements present a revenue opportunity for the village.
Should officials agree to Titan's plan, that area – and the station building housing Village Taxi – could be the home of national, regional and local advertisers.
Sign frames would be placed around the station, with Titan checking by a few times a week to swap out any advertisements that have been vandalized, Titan reps said. The ads – likely up for 12-24 week periods – would have to meet NJT's standard, though the property owner makes the final determination as to what's acceptable.
In the minds of village officials, the local angle served most appealing.
"The idea of additional revenue is very enticing," said Mayor Paul Aronsohn. "But some of us, maybe all of us, are interested in promoting our local businesses, and it's not all about money. There's something more important here, so we have to strike that balance."
Gabbert previously said the revenue stream could be as much as around $60,000 a year, though the figure hinges upon a greater level of national advertising.
Some local component is included already in the pitch, but Titan officials were less than enthused with village interest in more local advertising potentially taking the place of bigger businesses, lowering the overall revenue ceiling.
Councilman Tom Riche said NJ Transit's interest in advertising at the station – and bringing some business to its contractor, Titan – might give Ridgewood some leverage in compelling the transit agency to fulfill what he said was $100,000 of promises not kept during the $40 million renovation of the station.
Whether or not village officials agree to make the station underpass a bit more Madison Ave., NJ Transit will likely be adding advertisements to the platform facing the parking lot. Riche and Councilwoman Bernadette Walsh were both suspect of the NJT ad placements.
The council will further discuss the proposal at a later date.