FISHERS, Ind. — People in Fishers are getting ready to celebrate a new major piece of their downtown.
The Nickel Plate Trail and tunnel is finished up and ready to be unveiled Saturday with a grand opening and family fun for all.
”We have always from day one wanted this to be an experience more than a trail,” said Sarah Sundquist, the Fishers Parks and Rec director.
The trail stretches from 146th St. to 106th St. and now goes under 116th St.
”You can be on the trail and go right under 116th St., there’s no waiting, there’s no walk light to wait for,” Sundquist said.
The trail is already getting good use. It’s been open for a few weeks now and people have been enjoying it.
”It’s nice to just grab a drink and walk around and hang out,” said Joe Berding, a lifelong Fishers resident.
Joe and his son, Evan, were doing just that on Thursday afternoon. It was their first walk along the new trail, without having to worry about crossing 116th St.
”I think it’s best for people and for cars. People aren’t paying attention. They’re on their phones and it’s nice just to be able to go underneath,” Berding said.
Some new residents along the trail said developments like this one helped to keep them in Fishers.
”We were thinking about going to Broad Ripple or Carmel and then all this new development here in Fishers kind of really attracted us to stay here,” said Stu Stanley, who just moved into an apartment right off the Nickel Plate Trail.
Trail hours in downtown Fishers will go to midnight. Sandquist said later hours mean more chances for people to enjoy the trail.
”We want to activate the space, we want to have musicians down there, we want to have people down there congregating,” she said.
Fishers has included safety precautions in the tunnel with lights brightening the inside of the tunnel after dark and security cameras on either side.
The city hopes the trail will also connect people to downtown businesses easier.
”Going on the trail, even just for a walk and then maybe swinging up to the bar for a quick little bite or a drink, that’s going to be nice,” said Dustin Hare, who was running along the trail Thursday.
As for those businesses, the trail and tunnel opening mean the end to a long 18 months and more of construction frustrations.
”A lot of dirt, a lot of dust and in the past just few weeks its materialized into something really grand,” said Maggie Browning, the owner of Burn Boot Camp right by the trail.
Browning said it’s another unique addition to the rapidly growing city.
”We go to Fishers to go out to eat, we got to Fishers when we want to go shopping,” Browning said. “They’ve really positioned themselves as the ‘it’ place to be.”
There is much more to come with the Nickel Plate Trail. Just off of 116th St., right by the tunnel, a new hotel is being built. It’s five floors and has 116 rooms.
The Nickel Plate Trail will also eventually connect to the Monon Trail and the State Fairgrounds in Indianapolis, while also stretching to Pleasant St. in Noblesville.
The grand opening on the trail and tunnel will be on Saturday. It gets started at 8 a.m. with a one mile run and walk through the tunnel. The party continues in the afternoon with live music, food trucks and more.