The art of compromise is close to dead in Washington, D.C.

If we’re lucky, community leaders in Frankfort and Franklin County will be its ongoing practitioners.

The signs are discouraging, even locally.

On a matter as simple as recreation in a public park near a Civil War site, Frankfort’s city commissioners couldn’t find a balance recently between historic preservation and fun.

On the critical need for water storage in the coming century, city officials and the Frankfort Plant Board are so hopelessly at odds that a judge is having to referee. And after he rules, whichever way he rules, the state Court of Appeals or Supreme Court will opine on whether he got it right. Could take years. Meantime, many of us are paying legal fees on both sides of the flap — as ratepayers of FPB and as taxpayers of the city of Frankfort.

A long-simmering debate in Frankfort offers fresh opportunity for compromise on a critical need: a new animal shelter for the Franklin County Humane Society.

Compromise is — or at least should be — easier when there’s consensus about the problem. Everyone agrees that the current shelter must be replaced. Whether we spend $7 million or $5 million or $3 million — and how the cost is allocated among the city, county and Humane Society — can be worked out by civic-minded, sincere people who go to the negotiating table committed to a new shelter but appreciative that the solution will require some give and take.

Alternatively, stubbornness can rule the day, and we’ll still be debating five years from now how to replace the animal shelter.

Steve Stewart is publisher of The State Journal. His email address is

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