Caturia Smidt to build new facility, crematorium in Hastings

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Caturia Smidt Funeral Home will move to a new location in 2018.

The funeral home plans to take possession of the Knights of Columbus Hall, 3075 Vermillion St., at the end of December in order to begin construction on a new facility.

The Knights of Columbus Hall will be torn down in 2018 to make room for the new 12,000-square-foot facility. It will have a chapel, ample off street parking, a reception space and a crematorium.

Jesse Starkson, owner of Caturia Smidt, said that building the new facility with those features is their way of responding to what their clientele is requesting. The things that people want have changed over time. Cremation has grown substantially in the state of Minnesota as the preferred final disposition. More than 50 percent of people are cremated.

Starkson purchased the funeral home from Smidt last year. He also owns a crematory and funeral home in Janesville and another funeral home in Waseca. Adding the crematorium to the new facility will reduce travel time for the funeral home when someone chooses cremation.

The new crematorium in Hastings will allow the funeral home to keep everything local.

"We're investing in the community," Starkson said.

The current Caturia Smidt Funeral Home is located at 201 E. Seventh St. Steve Smidt, previous owner and licensed mortician, said that the facility was state of the art back in the '50s, but things have changed. The ways that funerals are conducted and the needs of people has evolved. Smidt said that he had always envisioned himself building a new facility, so he is happy to see Starkson do it.

"I think (Starkson) is continuing on with what I would have probably done if I had stayed on as owning the business," Smidt said.

Smidt said that he foresees the new building being something that the community can be proud of and it will greatly improve the Highway 61 corridor in that area.

One component of the new facility will add a significant improvement to what is currently available. There are currently only four parking spaces at the funeral home. The new facility will have 107 off-street parking spaces.

In addition, the new space will have a chapel and reception area, something the current location lacks. The chapel will be able to accommodate 225 people. The luncheon room will have a dividable wall so that it will be possible to seat up to 400 people at tables.

Starkson said that he hopes the new facility will be more of a community building rather than just a traditional funeral home, so the new facility will be available for more than just funerals. It will be available for community events.

Starkson said that he knows the KOC Hall has been used for large community events and he wants to continue to offer available space for community events.