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.
Two years ago, 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.
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.
Land owners may either opt-in to a citywide program that will help dollars go farther through bulk purchasing or work with a private contractor. City staff is available to consult on options for areas which might have drainage easements or other utilities in rear yards
There are 118 private lots with single-family homes that are adjacent to the Nickel Plate Trail and eligible for this program. The grant program will be paid for by funds received from the salvage of the rails. The grant program value is estimated at $236,000 if full participation.
Screening and Privacy Fencing on the NPT
There are a few places along the NPT where the grade is much higher on the trail or where the right-of-way narrows significantly, including around Cottingham Estates and Heritage Meadows, respectively. In these areas, the NPT Master Plan calls for privacy fence and landscape buffers on the NPT right-of-way. In areas where the City will be installing screening/privacy fencing in the NPT right-of-way, the grant program will not apply.
Connecting to the NPT
Several residents who were interested in connecting their property directly to the NPT. Non-structural connections (i.e. mulch or dirt path) will not be regulated by the City. However, due to underground utilities and drainage impacts, any structural connection desired (i.e. paved path, bridge, etc) must be approved and permitted by the City. A NPT Right-of-way Permit will be developed by City Staff prior to construction of the trail. The master plan also notes nearest connections to the NPT for residents who live in nearby neighborhoods. Property owners interested in potentially connecting to the NPT, can submit their interest 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. Motion-sensory, ground solar-powered lighting is being contemplated for the trail outside of the downtown area. Further, the plan calls for technology-enabled call boxes for public safety purposes every .25 miles along the trail.
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. We invite you to review the entire draft and let us know your feedback online at www.playfishers.com/tracktotrail.
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.
If you or your neighborhood would like to request a meeting with our staff to discuss the project further, please contact Megan Schaefer with Fishers Planning & Zoning Department by email or at 317-595-3422. Our staff stands ready to continue to meet with you throughout this project and to answer questions you may have.