Frandsen Avenue: one man’s legacy

A popular thoroughfare in Rush City has been renamed and dedicated to a man who is celebrated for his entrepreneurship, philanthropy and community leadership through many years.

The city council of Rush City invited community members to join in dedicating Frandsen Avenue to Dennis Kirk Frandsen at a special ceremony Tuesday afternoon at City Hall.

Mayor Dan Dahlberg officially renamed Field Avenue to Frandsen Avenue by reciting a proclamation.

“Dennis has given back to the community in countless ways,” Dahlberg began, “including donating the original Plastech building to the city for a library and community center, donating portions of Kinger’s Mall to the Rush City Schools and Family Resources, donating 117 acres on the north end of Rush Lake to Chisago County for a park, building tennis courts, building a townhome complex for seniors, donating to the Rush City Regional Airport and Rush City Community Center and many other charitable contributions too numerous to mention.”

Others also shared a few words and fond memories as remembered by Frandsen and those in attendance. They included City Councilman Bob Oscarson; Jim Ertz, former Rush City mayor and Frandsen Corporation associate; and Alan Johnson, senior account manager for Plastech.

Ertz pointed out the impact Frandsen has had on people and job opportunities through his businesses. He noted Plastech employs 315 employees, while more than a 1,000 work at Frandsen Corporation and 250 at Dennis Kirk.

“There have been thousands of employees who have been touched by Plastech, Frandsen Corporation and all the entities in between,” Ertz said. “(Frandsen’s) legacy must be out there so people don’t forget.

“We were the first city in the county to do a tax increment finance project, and that was for Plastech,” he added.

In his speech, Frandsen voiced appreciation of the recognition and recalled some of the early development projects, such as the Rush City Sales Barn and Star Tool Company, that were made possible through the Rush City Development Corporation. He discussed what it took to build the industrial park and Plastech, along with the expansion plans that came to fruition over the years.

Yet results take time, as he shared from doing business 50 years ago.

“I have a saying: Inch by inch, anything’s a cinch,” Frandsen said.

According to the mayor’s proclamation:

In 1953, Frandsen began his connection with Rush City by purchasing 200 acres of virgin timber in the area for his logging company and relocating the business to Rush City. This not long after, he met and married his wife Jeanette. They had four children together, and he has been a member of the Rush City community ever since.

Frandsen was a founding member of the Rush City Development Corporation that persuaded Star Tool Company to move to Rush City. He then purchased the business and renamed it Plastech Research Inc., which was housed in what is now the Rush City library in the downtown area.

As a member of the development corporation, he developed the Rush City Industrial Park and purchased 20 acres to build a new plant, silos and warehouses for Plastech. It was completed in 1973 and has been expanded multiple times since.

Frandsen also started a wholesale snowmobile parts distributing company named Dennis Kirk in the city’s industrial park. Though he sold the business in 1977, it continues to be a leader in the power sport parts and accessory market.

In addition to his many contributions to economic development in Rush City, Frandsen has been active in local civic organizations and community activities. He earned the Rush City Chamber of Commerce Community Service Award in 1993.

And now, Frandsen and his legacy will be remembered through an avenue named in his honor.

“In doing so,” Dahlberg said in his proclamation, “I urge citizens to recognize the many contributions Dennis and Jeanette Frandsen have made to the Rush City community.”

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