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Posted on: February 18, 2019

Resident Input Showcased as Draft Nickel Plate Trail Master Plan Unveiled

Cultural Commons - Downtown Core

FISHERS, IND. -- Fishers City Council and City leadership were joined by over two hundred community members as members of the committee presented the Nickel Plate Trail Master Plan 2040 to the public. The development of the Master Plan began in September with over 30 public events and meetings and over 1,500 ideas submitted in person, online, and via mail. The Master Plan was developed in partnership by consultants EX2 and NBBJ. Several Hamilton Southeastern School District schools developed project-based learning opportunities to engage in the process, including Harrison Parkway Elementary, New Britton Elementary, Fishers High School, HSE Innovations Class, and scouting events.

“We began this journey to create a community-led effort to build a world-class trail experience with the idea that it would not only inspire today’s leaders and residents to create something uniquely Fishers, but to use this as an opportunity to engage and inspire the next generation of leaders and residents,” said Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness. “What we’ve unveiled today is the first draft of what will undoubtedly be a destination experience for residents and visitors alike – one that will positively impact Fishers for generations to come.”

Since announcing the Nickel Plate Trail in Fishers, more than $250 million in private investment has been announced along the trail, from Hub & Spoke to First Internet Bank and others.

The Fishers portion of the Nickel Plate Trail was designed with several goals in mind: to create a trail for all, promote health and wellness, celebrate what is uniquely Fishers, preserve safety and privacy, honor the history and heritage of the Nickel Plate Rail Road, design with nature, and connect the community.

Dozens of Fishers residents volunteered their time as committee members including:

  • John Weingardt, Fishers City Councilman (Co-Chair)
  • Amanda Welu, DELV Design (Co-Chair)
  • David Becker, First Internet Bank
  • Erik Braden, Braden Business Systems
  • Shawn Curran, Fishers Running Club
  • Debbie Driskell, Delaware Township Trustee
  • Dan Kloc, Fishers Arts Council
  • Lori Mankin, New Britton Elementary
  • Ailithir McGill, Nickel Plate Arts
  • Jake Reardon-McSoley, Fishers YMCA
  • Brenda Myers, Visit Hamilton County
  • Corby Thompson, Boomerang Development
  • John Wechsler, Launch Fishers / Indiana IoT Lab – Fishers
  • Scott Whitlock, Flexware Innovation

Advisory committee members include:

  • Caleb Gutshall, City of Noblesville
  • Karen Kryah, Binford Redevelopment Group (BRAG)
  • Lindsey Lord, Indy Arts Council
  • Jennifer Milliken, Urban Land Institute
  • Mark Zwoyer, City of Indianapolis

“From the Fishers Farmers’ Market to public input meetings to committee meetings, the Nickel Plate Trail master plan truly is created by the community for the community,” said City Councilor and committee co-chair John Weingardt. “We’ve had the opportunity to honor our history while propelling our community into the future and we couldn’t be more excited to see this project come to fruition.”

The public input process resulted in more than 1,500 responses representing the following metrics:

  • 38% basics (safety, walkability, accessibility, pet waste containers, etc.)
  • 14% arts and education
  • 13% fitness and recreation
  • 10% restaurants and retail
  • 10% meditation and inspiration
  • 4% train and track with trail
  • 4% programming and events
  • 4% technology and entrepreneurship
  • 3% social

As a result of this feedback, NBBJ and EX2 developed the master plan for the trail which will be implemented in phases through 2040. Pedestrian crosswalks will be determined based on safety studies and traffic counts, with bridges or tunnels anticipated for 96th Street and 116th Street, respectively.

“We’ve spoken to hundreds of community members about their vision for this new kind of trail and the result – a dynamic trail experience not found anywhere in the U.S.,” said co-chair Amanda Welu. “As a resident of Fishers, it’s been an incredible process to work alongside colleagues and neighbors to bring this vision to fruition; it will be a unique destination for all.”

The Trail will feature five segments of uses:

  • 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

“The 4th grade students at HPE met with members of the City Rails to Trails committee, considered the needs of various community members, visited the tracks to develop their ideas, and worked in teams to create prototypes of their designs,” said Harrison Park Elementary principal Andrea Burke. “This authentic experience has proven to inspire our students and enhance their learning experiences.  They recognize the power of their voice and the impact they can make within their community especially when they see some of their ideas included in the final design of the Nickel Plate Trail.  As future leaders, our students will remember this powerful learning experience and their contribution to the City of Fishers.”

Residents can provide feedback on the Master Plan by visiting www.playfishers.com/tracktotrail by March 31. Residents can access that site to view the draft Master Plan, learn more about the process with FAQs and more. Community feedback will be incorporated into a final document for planning.

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