Archive for Wednesday, December 6, 2006

One owner hopes work will begin in a month

Renovation to pave way for 2nd business

December 6, 2006

Despite protests from a few Basehor residents, Jason Gorup and his family are moving forward with their plans to build a funeral home and crematorium.

The Gorup-Rusk Funeral Home will be built in the 1600 block of 155th Street, and Gorup hopes to break ground within the next month.

"We're waiting for the final designs to come back from the architect," the funeral director said. "Hopefully, the whole deal will be closed in the next two weeks."

Gorup and his business partner, Darro Rusk, were met with opposition from some residents during a public hearing for the funeral home at a July planning commission meeting. Nearby residents were concerned that chemicals from the funeral home would pose a threat. They also voiced concerns about crematory noise and odors and the stigma, which they said, a funeral home would bring to the neighborhood.

Gorup vehemently denied any negative claims, saying funeral homes usually are built in residential areas, they do not pose a health concern for residents or the environment and a crematorium does not emit smoke, noise or odor.

"Funeral homes are built in residential areas. That is why they're called funeral homes," Gorup said during a continuation of the public hearing in August. "My partner and I spent probably a good three months looking at available spots in Basehor. This one is in a quieter area."

The planning commission denied the change of zoning and the preliminary plat for the funeral home at the Aug. 1 meeting. However, the city council came back with unanimous approval at the Aug. 21, meeting. Council members agreed that while citizens' concerns were important, the city as a whole would benefit from the new business.

Gorup, a licensed funeral director and former paramedic, said a few citizens are still fighting the issue, but Gorup said the statements made are untrue and those residents are just trying to scare people. He responded with a letter to the editor, published in last week's Sentinel, to try to dispel any rumors. His letter included informational Web sites so residents can research the issue.

"I want everybody to know that I'm not hiding anything," he said. "I thought it was time to open my mouth. I want people to see that my business is a low impact business and it belongs in that area. Hopefully (the Web sites) will help educate them and show them that it's not going to be that bad. It's going to be great."

The final designs for the 6,500-square-foot funeral home and crematorium will still need to be submitted to the Planning Commission for approval, but Gorup said the plans have not changed from those submitted to the city council in August. Gorup plans to have a six- to seven-month building period and hopes to have the business completed at the end of March. He said they plan to have an open house to let citizens know when they are open for business.

"We're still very optimistic to open and be a part of the community," he said.

Plans for another funeral home in the Basehor area are also coming along.

Calvin Quisenberry, Tonganoxie funeral home owner and his wife, Susan, purchased the Roy Hill home on U.S. Highway 24-40, east of 178th Street in August with hopes of turning it into another funeral home. However, they will only be using the new facility for visitations and funeral services. They will continue to use their Tonganoxie location for mortuary services.

Quisenberry said they have been renovating the structure by putting in new windows and redoing the floors and walls.

"It was a 1960s ranch house with six bedrooms," Quisenberry said. "It just needed some TLC."

He said the preliminary drawings are complete and the final plans should be done by February. The Quisenberrys plan to build a 3,000-square-foot addition to the existing home, a carport on the east side and a parking lot in front of the building. Quisenberry said they hope the work will be completed next fall.

"We're really excited about the project," Quisenberry said. "We're looking forward to getting it completed and getting things going. We're also pleased about the feedback from the community."

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