Nickel Plate Trail Neighbors
Property owners directly adjacent to the Nickel Plate Trail (NPT), where your property is directly connected to Trail right of way, will have the support and collaboration from the City of Fishers to ensure concerns and questions are addressed throughout the process of developing the Nickel Plate Trail.
Nickel Plate Neighbors: Please complete this form to receive email communications about the Nickel Plate Trail.
In 2017, the City of Fishers stood with the Mayor of Noblesville and Hamilton County Commissioners to announce a new vision for the Nickel Plate Railroad corridor to convert the underutilized track to trail. Since the announcement, the City of Indianapolis has also joined the collaborative effort. In the summer of 2017, the owners of the Nickel Plate Railroad, who include Fishers, Noblesville and Hamilton County, filed an application to the federal government to allow what is known as rail-banking. Rail-banking allows owners of vacant railroads the ability to utilize the railroad right-of-way for trail purposes. On December 21, 2018, the Federal Surface Transportation Board granted the owners final rail-banking and trail sponsorship authority.
In anticipation of the rail-banking approval, last year the City of Fishers formed a master planning committee for the Nickel Plate Trail (NPT). Through its community engagement and outreach, the City received over 1,500 individual ideas from residents about what they would like to see on the trail. The Committee worked with more than 200 HSE Schools students on classroom projects and held dozens of meetings, including with adjacent neighborhoods like yours.
Despite nearly record rainfalls this summer, we were able to reopen 116th Street over the Nickel Plate Trail tunnel early to mitigate the impact on residents and local businesses. We appreciate your patience during this closure and look forward to debuting the downtown portion of the trail early next year. The tunnel will take pedestrians on the trail under 116th Street, giving them a safe and efficient way to cross the roadway without impacting traffic flow. Slated to open in Spring 2022, the tunnel will complete the trail connection through downtown Fishers. Learn more at playfishers.com/NickelPlateTrail.
Through some cost and time efficiencies, the City of Fishers was able to negotiate with our paving partner to add paving from 131st to 141st Streets to their project list this late summer/early fall. The City anticipates beginning the paving of the section of the trail north of 131st Street to 141st Street in the next 60 days.
A speed table (roadway crossing) and pedestrian light signals will be installed at 141st Street during this construction. Construction, and temporary closure of 141st at the Nickel Plate Trail, will occur over HSE Schools’ fall break, October 18-22, to minimize disruption to traffic flows. During this construction, this portion of the railbed remains closed and no trespassing is permitted. More detailed timelines and information will be distributed through the City of Fishers’ official communications channels in the coming weeks.
NPT Neighbors Resources
NPT Adjacent Resident Screening & Privacy Grant Program
For those who live in a single-family home on property directly adjacent to the trail (i.e. your property line touches the trail right of way), the City is offering a grant program that may go toward installing screening, privacy, or buffering through landscaping or fencing on the resident’s private property, up to $2,000 per private property.
We have created an easy-to-use application that combines both the screening grant and trail connection application into one to save you time. The new application combines both programs and can be found here.
The City has created an exhibit outlining property lines, drainage easements, and possible planning level screening and landscaping improvement locations to prevent water flow and storm sewer maintenance access from being blocked. Final permitted screening and landscape locations will be determined through the permit process after an on-site review. View the exhibit.
How to Apply:
Determine what type of improvements you would like (fencing, landscaping, other) and where.
Fishers will reimburse up to $2,000 per property to go towards installing screening, privacy, or buffering improvements. Our staff can help walk you through what options would be possible for your property’s unique characteristics. We recognize there may be drainage easements or other utilities in rear yards that you have questions about. Our Public Works Department will review any improvements within a drainage easement for concerns related to drainage flow and storm sewer protection and maintenance access.
Submit online application here.
Once the application has been received, staff will review and present the improvements to the Board of Public Works for approval. Applicants are notified of approval via e-mail.
Applicants have twelve (12) months to install improvements. Applicants are responsible for project completion and full payment prior to submitting receipts for reimbursement.
Submit proof of project completion and receive reimbursement.
Fishers will mail a check of the awarded amount to the property owner upon proof of completion of the project.
Please contact Megan Schaefer, Assistant Director of Planning & Zoning, by email or at 317-588-1431 with any questions.
Connecting to the NPT
The City has coordinated with Duke Energy, which has an easement over the trail area, to develop a permitting process that allows adjacent properties to connect directly to the trail. The trail connection application is now open to properties along the paved portions of the trail from 106th Street to 131st Street. For properties adjacent to unpaved portions of the trail, a trail connection will be available once paving occurs. HOA-owned properties should work directly with Duke Energy on a trail connection.
Trail connections are $200 and include a crushed stone trail or stairs from the property line to the trail, a drainage culvert (if needed), and complimentary labor from the Fishers Department of Public Works. Trail connections are not guaranteed and are subject to an onsite review to ensure they can be done safely and sustainably. Residents are not permitted to establish their own trail connections outside of this permitting process.
The trail connection application has been combined with the screening grant application to save you time. You can apply for both programs here.
Lighting, Hours, and Public Safety on the NPT
Fishers Police Department has been a stakeholder and member of the master planning committee for the NPT from day one. The downtown portion of the NPT from South Street to Lantern Road (near the Library) will be open later, longer and have more lighting to create a destination experience. Outside of the downtown area, the trail will have similar hours as all Fishers Parks that are open from dawn to dusk.
View the Draft Master Plan for Fishers NPT
The result of the committee’s eight months of work is a draft master plan that imagines a destination trail for experiences with art, nature, education, technology, and downtown vibrancy. The draft master plan, known as Fishers Nickel Plate Trail 2040, was presented to City Council on Monday, February 18. While the trail may be constructed in Fishers in the next few years, this master plan is a long-range vision for how amenities could develop along the trail over time.
The NPT is a connector of people, as well as a connection to our heritage. Together, we have an opportunity to honor our history while embracing our future and create a trail system that promotes wellness, discovery, and community all year long.
For further questions, please contact the City of Fishers by email. Our staff stands ready to continue to meet with you throughout this project and to answer questions you may have.