McAllen pumpkin patch at risk of shutting down, commissioners to vote next week

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Maddie’s Pumpkin Patch [Photo: Sal Castro]

MCALLEN, Texas (ValleyCentral) – A McAllen pumpkin patch is having to put its plans on hold as they await a city commissioner vote that will determine their fate next week.

Vega family. [Photo: Sal Castro]

Maddie’s Pumpkin Patch in McAllen has seen growth in popularity over the past couple of years that has led to some growing pains.

The pumpkin patch was created in 2016 as a “celebration of life” by Rick and Melinda Vega after their daughter Maddie recovered from a severe case of pneumonia that kept her in the hospital for several weeks.

The farm was originally purchased as a hobby farm by the Vega’s, and for most of the year remains as such, but come Fall time, the family transforms the land with holiday décor and invites the community to spend time there and take pictures with the adorned backgrounds.

This year, the Vega family is unsure whether they can invite the community back for the Christmas season.

As Maddie’s became more well-known over the past few years, the pumpkin patch’s peak season came with some challenges that had to be resolved along the way, such as limited parking.

At times, visitors of the pumpkin patch would park along the side of the two-lane road, and during the most congested times, sometimes on neighbor’s properties.

Maddie’s is located along Bentsen road in McAllen in a residential neighborhood. While across the street from a subdivision, the farm does not look out of place amongst the other large plots of land and orchards.

Additional parking lot at Maddie’s Pumpkin Patch. [Photo: Sal Castro]

This year, Vega had to apply with the city for a conditional use permit, as Maddie’s is now a business in a residential area and has outgrown the usual special events permit that has been granted in previous years.

The conditional use permit requires the consent of the surrounding neighborhood and a supermajority vote by the city commissioners and mayor in order to be granted. A “no” vote from two of the six commissioners would deny Maddie’s the necessary permit to operate this year and next.

The family was more prepared this time around, having cleared out a few more acres adjacent to their front entrance for parking.  Vega says, with the help of a deputy, he has made sure to direct traffic to the appropriate parking location to avoid having visitors park in the surrounding neighborhoods and did not have an issue this year.

However, the damage was done in some neighbors’ minds, and new concerns that Maddie’s would be a year-round pumpkin patch arose, as well as other concerns such as dust in the area.

Vega hopes to clarify that Maddie’s will only be seasonal and issues with the dust are being resolved with continuous water spraying.

“It’s part of what’s our history right now, unfortunately when you go through growing pains, you have to deal with issues and we’re receptive to people’s opinions, especially our neighbors, so we’re willing to work with them,” said Vega.

The Vega family is now asking for the community’s support and inviting Mayor Villalobos, commissioners, and surrounding neighbors to the farm to see how they have worked to resolve the issues. They have also started their own petition for people in favor of allowing Maddie’s to continue to operate in the Fall.

“We’re hoping that we get our visitors to say that this is a good place to have; this is a good place to have in our community, this is a good place for our families to go to… that’s also close to home,” said Melinda Vega.

Commissioners will vote at their regular meeting on November 22, 2021, at 5 p.m. at the City Commissions Chambers on the 3rd floor of City Hall, located at 1300 West Houston Avenue. 

ValleyCentral reached out to commissioners for comment and is waiting for a response.

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