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Following the plan

Construction is under way on a new location for Tracy Area Funeral Home. Owner Nathan Stephens said it’s a move that’s been a while in coming.

September 20, 2010
By Deb Gau

You can see the ground work being done on what used to be a vacant lot between Tracy Food Pride and Casey's General Store. If the recent rainy rains let up, Nathan Stephens said, the activity should increase.

"It's moving along quite well," Stephens said. "If we get some good weather, they should be able to start pouring concrete."

The construction is part of a move and expansion project for the Tracy Area Funeral Home, which is currently located on Third Street in Tracy. Stephens, co-owner and director of the funeral home, said the new funeral home will have more space and some other improvements on his current facility. The funeral home broke ground for construction at the beginning of the month.

Article Photos

Photo by Per Peterson
Construction is starting at the new location for the Tracy Area Funeral Home. The new location, between Tracy Food Pride and Casey’s, will include 4,000 square feet of public space.

Tracy Area Funeral Home is part of a larger family of funeral homes owned by Nathan and Valerie Stephens, with locations in Redwood Falls, Walnut Grove, Westbrook and Tyler as well.

But Stephens said the move has been a little while in coming.

Stephens said when he joined the Tracy Area Funeral Home, former owner Tim Kulow was interested in building a bigger funeral home to replace the 3rd Street location. Kulow bought land along Morgan Street with that intent, but because of other building projects like the construction of a new mortuary in Walnut Grove, he didn't have the chance to follow up on the plan before he retired in 2006. Neither did Stephens.

"We had building loans, and it was just not feasible," he said - until now. Stephens bought the Morgan Street property from Kulow. "We decided now is the time."

The current Tracy Area Funeral Home has outgrown its downtown location, Stephens said.

"It's a 120-year-old building. It was a former residence that was converted into a funeral home," he said. There's limited space. "Parking is kind of a concern, being in a residential area."

The plans for the new funeral home include about 4,000 square feet of public space, Stephens said. That will include room for a larger chapel on the building's east side, and a fellowship hall area where families can gather or funeral lunches could be served.

"Everything's going to be on one level," he said. "People won't have to worry about handicapped accessibility."

Stephens said his wife, co-owner Valerie Stephens, is also working on the interior design of the new funeral home.

Once the concrete and plumbing groundwork is finished, Stephens said construction on the would move pretty quickly. He said contractors' initial estimates were that the business could begin to move in sometime in November.

"The community is going to be greatly benefitted. They'll have more options available to them," Stephens said.



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