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.
Summer is right around the corner, and the City of Fishers is busy preparing to build the Nickel Plate Trail tunnel beneath 116th Street in June. The tunnel will complete the trail connection through downtown Fishers, joining South Street and North Street, and establishing a full connection from 106th Street to 131st Street. Tunnel construction will begin on or after June 1 and is expected to take approximately 60 days. During this time, 116th Street is to be closed from Municipal Drive to just west of Moore Street and 106th Street will serve as the detour route for thru traffic. Access to all local businesses and public parking will be maintained. Although the road closure is only expected to last for 60 days, Phase 2 of the tunnel construction which includes the ramp systems, stairs, and related infrastructure is targeted for completion by Spring 2022. Until this work complete, a pedestrian detour route will provide access through downtown between the north and south sections of the trail. To learn more about the tunnel project, view the Nickel Plate Trail Master Plan, and follow along throughout the construction, visit playfishers.com/NickelPlateTrail.
The flashing yellow signals for pedestrian crossings have been activated. The flashing lights warn motorists of pedestrians on the trail but does not require vehicles to stop, so please use caution when crossing the street. The City will be installing public safety signage and pavement markings along the trail in the next 30 days.
The City has been working with Duke Energy, which has an easement over the trail area, to develop a permitting process that would allow adjacent properties to connect directly to the trail. The trail connection application will open June 1 and can be found on this page. More information is outlined in the Connecting to the NPT section below.
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.