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. 

Background

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.

Updates

April 2021

The paved portions from 106th Street to South Street and North Street to 131st Street are open for public use, although motorized vehicles are prohibited. Over the next few weeks, the City will finalize the installation of public safety signage, pavement markings, and activate the yellow flashing signals for pedestrian crossings. Please note that the flashing lights will warn vehicles of pedestrians but does not require them to stop, so please be safe when crossing the street. The flashing signals are temporarily bagged until public safety signage is in place.

Preliminary work for the southern tunnel approach at 116th Street is underway. The City will begin construction on the underground portion of the tunnel at 116th Street on or after June 1. Once fully completed, the tunnel will join South Street and North Street, establishing a full connection from 106th Street to 131st Street. Tunnel construction is expected to take approximately 60 days and will require 116th Street to be fully closed from Municipal Drive to Maple Street. Business access will be maintained. Substantial completion of the tunnel, ramp systems, and stairs that will connect the trail through downtown is targeted for Spring 2022. Until this work complete, a pedestrian detour route will provide access through downtown between the north and south sections of the trail. See the pedestrian detour map.

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. 

The City has created an exhibit outlining property lines, drainage easements, and possible planning level screening and landscaping improvement locations to prevent waterflow 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. 
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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.

Install improvements. 

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 is in the final stages of finalizing the permitting process for trail connections, which will invite adjacent properties to connect directly to the trail. The City will provide a trail connection of mulch or stone and drainage culvert if needed (final materials yet to be determined) from the property line to the trail. The cost of the connection will be a flat fee to cover materials ($200), and labor will be free. Residents are not permitted to establish their own trail connections outside of this permitting process.

The City is continuing to work with Duke Energy, which has an electric easement over the trail area, to develop a connection solution for properties that are separated from the trail by a significant grade change (i.e., those properties that would require steps, bridge, or other structure to connect). The City is also working with Duke Energy related to situations where HOAs want to connect their common areas directly to the trail.

We encourage adjacent homeowners and businesses to fill out this form to share their preferences regarding trail connections, and we will follow up once a plan is in place. If you are interested in establishing a trail connection, we advise that you hold on applying for the Screening Grant so that your screening can best accommodate your trail connection. 

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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. Motion-sensory, ground solar-powered lighting is being contemplated for the trail outside of the downtown area. 

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 Stephanie Perry, Assistant Director of Community & Public Relations, by email. Our staff stands ready to continue to meet with you throughout this project and to answer questions you may have.