MATTHEWS – Alston Richardson, of Monroe, plans on investing upwards of $500,000 to transform the site of the town’s first library into the Matthews Brewing Company.
He envisions his microbrewery and pub having a patio fronting 124 W. John St., as well as historical photos inside that connect people to Matthews.
“Matthews is a growing area with a strong culture and rich history,” Richardson said. “Research shows that those two attributes really go well with this type of business.”
The Matthews Historical Foundation, however, opposes the project.
Paula Lester, president of the foundation, told commissioners during the Jan. 8 public hearing that she didn’t think a brewery would work in the space next to the Reid House.
The foundation relies on renting out the Reid House for weddings and special events on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays to support the historic home and Matthews Heritage Museum.
Her concerns are inadequate parking and the potential for the outdoor sound system to disrupt events.
“We are thinking about the brides in our backyard all excited to have their wedding at 6 in the evening, when they are out there getting ready to say their vows and having a heavy metal group ramp us,” she said.
Richardson countered that his vision was not a bar. The purpose of his company is to make a product and serve it onsite, as well as distribute it to other locations. He said no liquor would be served onsite and that the business would comply with town ordinances.
Commissioner Jeff Miller told Richardson he may be swimming upstream with his proposal due to the lack of parking and the location next to historic properties. He urged Richardson to consider the same business model in a different location.
The Matthews Planning Board is scheduled to examine the application and site plan at its Jan. 23 meeting at Matthews Town Hall.