Two companies picked to lead Nickel Plate Trail planning in Fishers

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Two firms have been chosen to lead the design phase of the proposed Nickel Plate Trail in Fishers.

The city announced Thursday that the committee overseeing the process received nine proposals from companies and selected two of them to work collaboratively on creating a master plan for the trail through Fishers.

Strategic consulting firm Ex2 Partners, which is based in Indianapolis, and architecture company NBBJ, which is based in Columbus, Ohio, will work with the city and residents to develop a plan for converting the Nickel Plate Railroad into a pedestrian trail. In Fishers, the trail will run from 96th Street to 146th Street. 

The two firms and the city are currently finalizing consulting agreements, which will need to be approved by the Fishers Board of Public Works and Safety.

The NPT Master Planning Committee was formed in May, and the group issued a RFP in June for master planning services.

The committee reviewed all nine proposals and identified four firms, which were invited to interview with a smaller sub-committee that was comprised of residents and city staff. 

“Our committee’s vision is to create a destination like no other with the Nickel Plate Trail that harnesses the heritage and entrepreneurial spirit of Fishers,” committee co-chair and Fishers city councilman John Weingardt said in written comments. “Resident input will be instrumental in developing a robust master plan for the experience of the Trail. People of all ages are excited to give their ideas, and we can’t wait to hear them.”

Public outreach is expected to begin this fall. Noblesville and Indianapolis are also expected to provide input since the trail will extend beyond Fishers.

The master planning process will focus on experiential elements, such as art, activation spaces and design elements, including various types of intersection crossings.

At least one intersection—116th Street—is expected to feature an underground tunnel. The city’s engineering team will evaluate each crossing to determine whether more tunnels are necessary or if traditional crossings will work, according to a news release.

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