City of Fishers unveils trail plan; trail to act as ‘linear park’ 

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The City of Fishers unveiled the Nickel Plate Trail Master Plan 2040 on Feb. 18 prior to the city council meeting at Launch Fishers.

Renderings of the trail were on display at the event.

Nickel Plate Master Planning Committee co-chair and Fishers City Council member John Weingardt referred to the trail as a “linear park.”

After a brief introduction about the trail, a video about the process of gathering public input was shown. According to Weingardt, there were 30 opportunities for community engagement, which elicited more than 1,500 responses.

“Our goal is not only to create a unique pedestrian experience for residents in Fishers, but we want to create an experience unlike anything in the Midwest or the world, for that matter,” Fadness said in the video.

Amenities to be implemented along the trail include a viewing deck along the trail at the 96th Street intersection to view the planes landing at the Indianapolis Metropolitan Airport, adding lighting and technology to the tunnel crossing under 116th Street, innovation coves for collaboration along the trail near the Hamilton East Public Library, sculptures, a boardwalk along the trail near Launch Fishers, creating places for people to hang out, recreation for teenagers, kindness rocks, a treehouse, outdoor fitness opportunities and more.

“Parks are not what they used to be. This is the park of today,” NBBJ Design Landscape Architect Tony Murry said about the trail.

In the video, Launch Fishers Founder John Wechsler compared the trail’s master plan to a business plan.

“This is an example, I think, of what happens when a city acts more like a start-up,” Wechsler said.

The master plan could take up to 21 years to complete. It is not yet in its design phase, and more feedback from the public will be requested in the coming months.

Mayor Scott Fadness speaks on the new trail. (Photos by Anna Skinner)

The plan to convert the Nickel Plate Railroad into a 9.2-mile trail from 96th Street to 146th Street in Noblesville was originally announced in 2017. Following the announcement, in late 2018, Fishers announced a tax increase by approximately 4 cents. Between 1 and 1.5 cents of the tax increase would fund the first phase of the Nickel Plate Trail, which would stretch 4.5 miles from 106th Street to 126th Street. A tunnel will pass under the 116th Street intersection. The first phase of the Nickel Plate Trail is expected to cost approximately $9 million.

Trail input came from community members young and old, and many of the ideas were given by Hamilton Southeastern Schools students. Fadness presented a certificate of appreciation to the students for their involvement in providing ideas for the trail.

This fall, the city will break ground on the pavement portion of the trail from 106th Street and 126th Street.

For more, visit playfishers.com/284/Track-to-Trail.

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