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home : news : local news December 15, 2017

Nickel Plate information sessions to address eminent domain
Nickel Plate Information Sessions

6 p.m.

Hampton Inn, 11575 Commercial Drive, Fishers,



Hamilton North Public Library, 209 W. Brinton St., Cicero

6 p.m.

Tipton American Legion, 129 N Independence St., Tipton

By Kevin Thompkins

A St. Louis-based law firm is sending representatives to Hamilton County for a series of meetings on the Nickel Plate Railroad, and the possible eminent domain of land owners' property.

The law firm of Arent Fox LLP is sending an attorney to Hamilton County Monday and Tuesday to discuss compensation for property expected to be taken to convert part of the Nickel Plate Railroad to a walking/biking trail.

The cities of Noblesville and Fishers want to convert more than 9 miles of the railroad to a walking trail. The cities, and Hamilton County, are the owners of the railroad.

In order to build the trail, the owners would have to acquire property abutting the rail line.

Attorney Lindsay Brinton will conduct three town hall meetings to discuss the case, which involves the federal government taking land to convert the rail line into a public recreational trail. This abandoned railroad segment is roughly 37.56 miles long.

Eminent domain, the taking of private property for public use, has not been discussed, however Arent Fox is prepared to file a claim in The Court of Federal Claims, Washington D.C., to make sure property owners along the rail line are compensated.

Arent Fox is waiting until the United State Surface Transportation Board rules on the Nickel Plate owners' petition to keep the rail corridor intact for use as a walking/biking trail, or a railroad.

The petition asks the STB to permit the owners to move forward with plans to rail bank the line.

Rail banking is a voluntary agreement between a railroad company and a trail agency to use an out-of-service rail corridor as a trail until a railroad might need the corridor again for rail service.

The owners have filed for the entire line - Tipton to Indianapolis. If successful in rail banking, the owners have preserved the opportunity for each community along the line to convert from rail to trail. Communities that convert will be responsible, legally and financially, for maintaining that portion of trail within its jurisdiction.

The process could take as long as a year to receive federal approval.

Noblesville and Fishers announced plans to convert the southern portion of the Nickel Plate to a trail in March.

The plan calls for a 9 mile trail from Pleasant Street in Noblesville to 96th Street in Fishers.

Earlier this year, Ms. Brinton and her colleagues recovered nearly $1 million for landowners in Martin and Lawrence County.

Arent Fox represents over 1,000 landowners in Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Kansas, Nebraska, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Oregon, South Carolina, New York, Missouri, and Tennessee who are pursuing Fifth Amendment takings claims against the federal government.

The firm has offices in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, St. Louis and Washington, DC.

Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, November 19, 2017
Article comment by: Paul Hippensteel

I agree with Larry Davis! Trail users are often non-residents who take advantage of the facilities without paying property taxes! And yes, such trails encourage crime and require extra police patrols. There have been crimes on the Monon trail in Broad Ripple, including sexual perverts who staged exhibitionist and transsexual acts in view of children. However whether or not the railroad is converted to a trail, the State Fair Train is gone for good the residents of the new apartment complex next to the Post Office are paying too much in rent to tolerate the noise of the train, and the apartment complex sits on what was once the train parking lot. In other words, they can't revive the State Fair train because there would be insufficient parking (I'm guessing the apartment garage couldn't hold the additional cars for the State Fair Train).

Posted: Saturday, November 18, 2017
Article comment by: Larry Davis

I have lived in Noblesville since 1964, and for what I have seen is the older generation has no say in what the city does. The older generation is not respected for their knowledge. But I think with a trail requires law enforcement to patrol the trail. This requires more officers, more money, and more taxes. With a train the crime does not increase, so the law enforcement officers don't have to patrol the tracks. The only ones that will use trail are the young people. I enjoy the train, but the trail is boring. Walking and riding bicycles what is interesting about that? The train is our history, with the liberals already stripping away monuments and statues, do we want to allow them to fully take away the history of our area? I know this comment don't mean much to you, but to the older generation we grew up with trains coming through our town, and back 50 years ago you could leave your door unlocked and not worry about someone breaking in and stealing from you or killing you. But with the problems in our town like drugs and theft, don't you think we should be concentrating on solving these rather that concentrating on trails or trains. I would rather have a safe town than worrying about trail or train. I VOTE SAFE TOWN AND TRAIN!

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