City, county start final phase on Riverwalk


By Sadie Hunter

Years in the making, Hamilton County and the City of Noblesville have broken ground on the third and final phase of the Riverwalk trail project in downtown Noblesville.

On Nov. 4, Hamilton County Commissioners and Noblesville Common Councilors met behind the Hamilton County Government and Judicial Center for the official ceremony.

This part of the project is expected to be complete in 2017 and will provide the missing link of the half-mile trail along the east side of White River.

Construction on the Riverwalk began after Hamilton County Commissioner Steve Dillinger came up with the idea to provide a scenic walkway near White River in downtown Noblesville while visiting Madison, Ind., in 2000. A committee of residents was formed the following year, but the recession and prioritizing infrastructure projects took precedence until 2008.

“I never envisioned the Riverwalk taking 17 years when we started out, but it’s exciting to see it finally coming together,” Dillinger stated in a press release. “With the Riverwalk and Federal Hill Commons opening in 2017, downtown Noblesville is getting the kind of entrance it deserves.”

The first phase was a county project and consisted of creating a trail from the county employee parking lot east, underneath the Conner Street/Ind. 32 Bridge and back up to the Hamilton County Government and Judicial Center.

The second phase was a City of Noblesville project, extending the trail under the Logan Street Bridge and up to where it now connects with the pedestrian bridge to Forest Park, which also connects to trails at Potter’s Bridge and Field Drive. Phase three will connect the two completed portions behind the Judicial Center and will also serve as the home for the Hamilton County Fallen Firefighters Memorial. Construction will begin later this month.

“As in many communities, trails are definitely a popular amenity in our city. The Riverwalk Phase III will provide pedestrians and bicyclists the opportunity to travel from downtown into Forest Park without using streets while enjoying the beauty of the White River and downtown Noblesville,” Mayor John Ditslear stated in a press release. “We’re also excited for the opportunity this will create for even more river activation in the future.”



Phase three also will join with the City of Noblesville’s recently opened southern portion extension, which runs from Maple Avenue to Division Street.

This section of the Riverwalk was officially opened Nov. 1.

“Our residents place a high value on trails both for connectivity and for the enjoyment of nature, and this section of the Riverwalk provides both,” Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear stated in a press release. “What people may not realize is how this project also improves our capability to prevent or eliminate sewer overflow – an absolute necessity for our growing city.”

Beneath the trail pavement, 1,100 feet of 60-inch conveyance sewer pipe was buried as part of Noblesville Utilities’ Long Term Control Plan Phase III Division III, which began in 2014. This allowed the city to reduce or eliminate any combined sewer overflow by creating the new route from Maple Avenue to the Noblesville Utilities Treatment Plant. To create the pipeline and trail from the vacant weeds and brush riverbank, crews installed a new permanent retaining wall, which is stabilized with 3-inch threaded rods connected to 20-feet deep I-beams.

“It was a time-consuming project. Our construction crew could only go 60 feet at a time because they had to tie into the retaining wall,” Noblesville Utilities Director Ray Thompson stated in a press release. “But, our employees enjoyed working on the Riverwalk, (and) we get to see firsthand the community come out and appreciate its beauty.”