The owners of Rombach Farms in Chesterfield said a new development for an outlet mall could indirectly shut them down.
The family’s had the farms since 1914.
Rombach farms came back after the flood of ’93. The owners said the drainage ditch of 2012 could do them in.
Marcia Rombach called the ditch, “the beginning of the end”.
She also said the Rombach Farms Facebook page was “blowing up” with support; people wanting to save the farms and stop plans for the ditch. The family launched a separate Save Rombach Farms page.
This was a typical post: "NOOOO ! I went there ever year when I was a little girl. I'm now 30...we drive 45 minutes just to come to your farm...I want to take my children when we are blessed...let’s start a petition. KEEP THE FARMS THE SAME!”
Rombach’s is across Olive Street Road from the Spirit of St. Louis Airport complex.
The produce stand was open for the season, Monday. The talk of sweet corn out was mixed with talk of the ditch.
“100’ wide, 15-20’ deep, right through the middle of the property,” long time worker and Rombach family friend, Peter Wolff said. “Oh no!” a group of customers cried.
“Everybody knows, Rombach’s been forever,” said Ida Grogan of Wright City, a grandmother, who recalled bringing her children there when they were young.
“We come over here to do our hiking and trails and walking and exercise; to get away from the malls and things,” said customer, Wes Thompson of DeSoto.
The proposed new outlet mall would not be located on Rombach property. But the plan for the 55 acre development requires a drainage plan for the entire 130 acre site near Rombach Farms.
Marcia Rombach said that would mean a massive, uncovered ditch through the pumpkin patch.
It would be closer to the size of the River des Peres than the small ditch running through the property.
Wolff said the ditch would run near or through the famed pumpkin pyramid: the centerpiece of the Rombach’s fall festival: a Chesterfield tradition.
“We set up a bench for people to sit in front of, because people have been taking photos in front of that mound for 30-40 years,” Wolff said.
“I think the history. I think it just means a little bit more because I know it’s been here a long time,” Grogan said. “Going through the maze, picking the pumpkins, oh yeah.”
“People that come out here talk about all the time, how many years they’ve been coming here; when their kids, when they had kids, and now their kids have kids, and their grandkids...it would not look pleasant with a drainage ditch running through the middle of a pumpkin patch.”
Fox 2 left messages for developer, Dean Wolff, but hadn’t gotten a response as of Monday night. There's a planning committee meeting on the outlet mall proposal at Chesterfield City Hall Thursday.
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