BEDFORD (CBS11) – As part of an effort for economic rejuvenation, Bedford is allowing a brewery to go into the corner of a strip mall that shares a parking lot with and sits next to a gymnastic center — and that doesn’t sit well with the gym owners.
“The additional traffic through here I think is a danger for the kids. And then you put alcohol in the mix I think it’s only a matter of time,” said Lisa Wingert, co-owner of Classic Gymnastics.
Wingert has taught gymnastics to kids of all ages at her Bedford location for 15 years. She says if she’d known there were plans for a brewery next door she might not have signed a lease to stay here for five more years.
“And when I signed that contract, which is also an increase in my rent, a brewery was not in that negotiation,” she said.
Wingert and the parents of students say they were given no notice the city would approve a variance allowing a brewery to sell beer for offsite and onsite consumption in that strip center which also contains a church.
“Right now there’s a lot of talk that everything is going to be OK,” said parent Tia Albertson. “It’s hard to imagine when you’re mixing the dynamics of a high traffic area already with more traffic. Throwing a little bit of alcohol in the mix as well?”
“We are also very concerned about that,” said Alex Knight, co-founder of Turning Point Beer.
Knight says he’s already working with the landlord to better regulate traffic in the parking lot and prevent cars from cutting across it to avoid a stop light.
“Not only if you’re serving alcohol or you have kids out there, no matter what. That’s not safe for anybody,” he said. “So, we are going to be trying to work with the landlord to get maybe some cones out here I think the lines need to be brightened up a little.”
Knight said he and his business partners searched locations for their venture in Bedford for two years and this is the only site that met their physical and financial needs.
“I really hope we can all be great neighbors,” Knight said. “We want to help them as much as they will allow us.”
Knight says he hopes to have the brew pub open by December.
Wingert says she’s filed a complaint with the state to try to block the liquor permit.