The cities of Noblesville and Fishers are collaborating to convert 9.2 miles of the Nickel Plate railway into a pedestrian trail.
The trail, that will run from 96th street in Fishers to Noblesville's Pleasant street, will cost approximately $9.3 million dollars and take anywhere from 6-12 months to get approved by the Federal Surface Transportation Board.
The two cities will be splitting the cost of the project, with Noblesville's section of the trail, from 146th street to Pleasant Street, estimated to cost $4.15 million, and Fishers' section, from 96th Street to 146th Street, costing $4.4 million.
"It's important that we act now and take advantage of this," said Noblesville Mayor John Ditslear. "We're going to return the purpose of what the Nickel Plate was all about, connecting people and connecting communities."
The 14-foot-wide paved trail will potentially overlap with existing trails in Noblesville, such as sections of the Midland Trace Trail, along with the future Riverwalk and White River Greenway trails, adding to Noblesville's 84 miles of trail.
"We're here in a spirit of collaboration around an idea that can be transformative for Hamilton County," Fishers Mayor Scott Fadness said at a press conference on Tuesday.
The Nickel Plate railway was previously used for the train to the Indiana State Fair and Polar Express, but was shut down for safety reasons. County Commissioner Christine Altman said the railway could possibly be used for transit again in the future.
"We've preserved this corridor for transit purposes," she said, "that was our first intent. But at this time, local communities don't have the local dollars to make that happen."
The tracks will be removed and salvaged for future use, if needed.
The Nickel Plate Trail would increase pedestrian traffic along the railway, and letters to nearby homeowners have been sent out.
Two community listening sessions will be held to inform local citizens of what all the project entails. The first meeting will be held in Fishers on Tuesday March 21 at 6 p.m. in the City Hall Auditorium. The second will be at Noblesville City Hall on March 23.
The council will also be discussing the project before its normal 6 p.m. meeting on March 1. Community members are encouraged to attend.