Kok Funeral Home in Cottage Grove plans expansion
The business of helping families through a loved one's death not only is solemn, but it is growing as well.
For nearly five decades, Kok Funeral Home has provided south Washington County communities with end-of-life services at its two locations -- Cottage Grove and St. Paul Park. Throughout the years, the locations have been updated to conform to modern aesthetics and a change in ownership in 1980 only strengthened business.
With recent projections showing an increase in local population, the company has decided to expand and remodel its Cottage Grove location, 7676 80th St., to make room for a 3,500-square-foot addition. The added space will allow for a larger lobby, additional restrooms and an on-site family reception room.
"The purpose of (the family reception room) is to allow those families we already serve the option to conveniently provide both visitation and funeral participants refreshments and light meals without leaving the premise," said Michael Shea, funeral director and manager. "The reception room concept within funeral homes represents a new and growing trend in our profession, and we aim to provide area residents with the latest in convenience and comfort."
The expansion, which was recently approved by the Cottage Grove City Council, will extend the building's western side, using a vacant parcel of property the company acquired in 1999 as a result of a lot split with former tenants, CenturyLink.
The multi-purpose room will allow the funeral home to accommodate larger funerals, and provide friends and family members with more room to congregate before and after funerals.
"There will also be an added entrance and exit onto 80th Street on the east side of the property in order to eliminate any potential traffic congestion for those entering or leaving the funeral home property," Shea said.
According to city code, building size and number of parking stalls go hand in hand, and with the added space at the funeral home, the number of parking spaces needed is 102. However, the funeral home was granted a variance for only 79 spaces because the businesses expects the same amount of people will be using the facility, negating the need for more parking stalls on the property.
Shea said construction on the addition, which represents roughly a 50 percent increase in the building size, is expected to begin in early summer and completed by the end of the year.
"Some exterior work might get pushed into the next year depending on the fall weather," he added. "However, timing on projects of this type -- both an interior remodel and new building addition -- involve the extra challenge of completing the work without any significant inconvenience to the families we serve on a daily basis. Doing the project correctly is more important to us than doing it quickly."