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Bill Franks Bypass dedicated

Brian DeNeal
updated: 4/29/2011 11:28 AM

The bypass route through Harrisburg has been called a few different names, the Route 13 Bypass and the Route 34 Connector, but in her final act as Harrisburg Street and Alley Superintendent Linda Mitacek dedicated it Thursday as the Bill Franks Bypass.

With Franks family and friends in observance, Mitacek explained the naming process and why she decided to name it for Harrisburg business man and philanthropist Bill Franks.

"It started as a contest two years ago. The community gave ideas and suggestions for the bypass," Mitacek said.

The name Bill Franks, founder of Arclar Coal Company and Franks Dialysis Center, stood out.

"Bill Franks was one of those individuals who most people considered as having it all -- a handsome man, world class athlete, a very successful business entrepreneur and a great family man," Mitacek said.

"Mr. Franks was not only a business visionary, but also a charitable visionary. He gave from his heart to make the world a better place.  It';s been said about Bill Franks that no one has ever given more and expected less in return."

Mitacek said Franks gave to area churches, to Boy Scout troops and to the man on the street who wanted a sandwich. According to his nephew, Joe Pearson, Franks at 60 invested an enormous amount of his own money to start Arclar Coal Company -- named for his parents Arthur and Clara Franks -- to provide Saline County with 500 jobs.

"He gave without regard to his own financial condition and always placed the needs of his community above his own," Mitacek said.

"Bill Franks measured his personal success, not by monetary gain, but by what he could do for others and because of that he set a standard of charity rarely seen.

"Those of us who knew him were truly blessed, and for those that didnít, let this highway keep his memory alive.

Former Department of Transportation Engineer Danny Clayton gave a history of the funding sources for the bypass, said it was started in 2010 and is to be completed this year. The goal was to reroute semi tractor-trailers hauling coal from Galatia around the town, decongesting traffic and creating a safer downtown.