Though there are still a few details to finalize, a compromise between the city, the Frankfort Plant Board and neighbors in Tanglewood means construction will begin soon on a sorely needed replacement for the city’s 135-year-old water storage tanks.
The settlement agreement ends what would have been many more months, if not years, of squabbling in court and risking a catastrophic failure of the current water storage system.
The parties have been locked in a years-long battle over the size and aesthetics of the reservoir, which is currently composed of two 4.6-million-gallon tanks. FPB wanted to replace it with one 7-million-gallon water tank, but the city’s planning commission stopped the project in 2018 because it believed the plan did not comply with the city's comprehensive plan.
Earlier this year FPB offered a new reservoir proposal that includes a tank that is less visible, nearly 9½ feet lower and will hold 6½ million gallons of water.
According to FPB spokeswoman Cathy Lindsey, it is also roughly $700,000 more than the original plan. But taxpayers could save that much or more in legal fees and inflationary increases in the cost of materials and labor for the project. Besides, can we really put a price tag on the importance of getting this dispute behind us as a community and completing a crucial infrastructure project that addresses a major public safety issue?
More than $100,000 of Frankfort taxpayers’ and FPB ratepayers’ money has already been paid in legal fees in Franklin County Circuit Court. Imagine how much more would have been spent on the case in higher courts after the original decision were appealed.
We commend the city, FPB and Tanglewood residents for not dragging this on any longer. We thank them for the strides they have all made to mend relations through a little give-and-take. But most of all we appreciate that this will be settled around a negotiating table and not in a courtroom.
As Henry Ford once said, “Coming together is a beginning. Staying together is progress and working together is success.”