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Groundbreaking signals start of work on new Nickel Plate Trail

Groundbreaking signals start of work on new Nickel Plate Trail in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — With a ceremonial turning of dirt, a narrow strip of land is poised to make a wide impact in Indianapolis. The Department of Public Works is ready to start construction on the first section of 10.3 miles of the Nickel Plate Trail.

It’s a long-planned repurposing of the defunct railroad line that ran through the northeast part of the city. Trains carried passengers and cargo on the line for generations, but the rails fell into disuse in recent decades. The final notable activity as a railroad was to host the “Fair Train”, taking patrons to and from the State Fair. Workers started removing rails sections several years ago.

The new trail will run from 38th Street at the Indiana State Fairgrounds through several different neighborhoods in Washington and Lawrence Townships. The route runs roughly parallel to both Allisonville Road and Fall Creek Parkway as it becomes Binford Boulevard and, farther north, I-69.

The Nickel Plate will add to a northeast side trail system that already features the Monon Trail to the west and the Fall Creek Trail to the east.

Families will be able to run, walk, or ride the Nickel Plate trail for access to several key spots, including Eastwood Middle School, Heritage Christian School, and Sahm Park. A spur of the trail will go directly into the park and golf course.

At 96th Street, the Indianapolis stretch of the trail will connect with Hamilton County’s own version of the trail.

Planners say the project will be a positive jolt for communities along the line. Binford Redevelopment and Growth has long touted the benefits of trails in its effort to revitalize the area. The group calls the Nickel Plate a ‘once-in-a-generation’ opportunity. The President of BRAG joined several local leaders for the groundbreaking ceremony at 62nd and Allisonville.

The city says trail construction will cost $ 14.8 million and should be finished in the spring of 2025.

The Indianapolis/Fishers/Noblesville project does run the risk of some confusion, as northern Indiana has its own “Nickel Plate Trail”, which runs roughly 40 miles between Rochester and Kokomo. To learn all about that popular project, click here.