Nickel Plate Trail master plan unveiled: ‘We’re trying to evolve and adapt’

FISHERS, Ind.-- We’re getting our first glimpse at the Nickel Plate Trail master plan.

The project has been a hot topic since 2017.  Now, the anticipated but controversial project is one step closer to becoming reality. Hundreds of people packed the Launch Fishers presentation room to get the first look at the renderings. 

“The world is changing, we’re trying to evolve and adapt,” said Mayor Scott Fadness.

Thirty public events later and 1,500 ideas submitted, the master plan has been unveiled.

“There’s parts that are nature and meditative, there’s parts that are innovation and technology,” said Amanda Welu, the Committee Co-Chair of Track to Trail.

The Nickel Plate Trail will feature five segments:

  • 96th Street to 106th Street: Makers Space and Innovation Zone
  • 106th Street through Cheeney Creek: Nature Park Zone
  • Just south of 116th Street through 126th Street: Downtown Active Core Zone
  • 126th Street to 131st Street: Wellness Zone
  • 131st Street to 146th Street: Park and Education Zone

There will be sculptures and pavilions. Plus, assembly space next to the trail, where Welu says, could become a social spot for nightlife.

“We are stirring everyone around a central vision of what this thing could be for our community," said Welu.

From popsicle sticks to blueprints-- more than 200 students created models of what they want to see, like a ninja warrior fitness course and a Nickel Plate Rail Road history museum.

“As a resident of 14 years I’ve been asking some of the same questions, like what do we want this to be?” said Welu.

For Hamilton County resident, Tyler Mendenhall this is not what he wanted.  As a member of "Save the Nickel Plate" he’s collected more than 12,000 petition signatures to keep the tracks located right where they are.

Train advocates are not giving up. Along with lawsuits, they’re asking the city to think of other options.

Why not consider a recreational trail next to the train tracks?

“It has brought millions into Fishers and Noblesville economically and if you could do both, that would be more unique than any other community as far as I know, anywhere in the state,” said Mendenhall. 

While "Save the Nickel Plate" continues to spread their message, the city says more than $250 million in private investment has been announced along the Nickel Plate Trail.

“We’re done with the federal government, we have a couple local boards that we have to get through that we don’t anticipate any issues there so we’re ready to get moving,” said Fadness.

Although the rail road is going away Fadness hopes those against the plans will jump on board.

“I think they will see with this plan it’s really a unique asset for them,” said Mayor Fadness.

Construction is set to begin this fall. You can provide feedback on the master plan until March 31. Click here to visit their website.

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