Hot On The Trails: Blazing New Paths In Indy

An ambitious plan from Cultural Trail founder Brian Payne—and a few other exciting projects.
Indianapolis trails
Indy-area communities have been building trails nearly as fast as they can lay asphalt. But as government dollars dry up, swaths of disconnected and shovel-ready paths remain. Enter Cultural Trail mastermind Brian Payne of the Central Indiana Community Foundation. He has been meeting neighborhood leaders and well-heeled donors to raise $100 million in private funds for new trails. Payne wants to connect underserved areas to the Monon and other greenways. If all goes well, new trails could be built as soon as 2019. Here’s some more groundbreaking activity to look for:
About 1 mile of the Pogue’s Run Trail on Indy’s near-east side was completed two years ago, but the project was temporarily shelved when funding ceased. Park planner André Denman says some new dollars are on the horizon and expects work to resume within the next few years. Eventually, the trail would stretch from Spades Park to Brookside Park to the Pogue’s Run Art and Nature Park.
Fall Creek Trail will be extended farther southwest to 16th Street from its current terminus near Meridian Street—if the city can get a federal grant in 2020. To the northeast, the city hopes to connect the orphaned Fall Creek loop trail near East 79th Street south to the main trail and Fort Harrison State Park.
Two separate Eagle Creek Trails traverse Indy’s west side, and an estimated $10 million–plus shortfall is keeping them apart. The North Eagle Creek Trail serves as the western boundary of a loop of Speedway Trails. Construction of the 3-mile B & O Trail connecting Eagle Creek to Speedway’s Main Street is expected next year.
Noblesville is currently working on extending the Midland Trace Trail from its downtown to Westfield. The first segment, from Gray Road to Hazel Dell Road, will begin soon, with the remaining phases to be completed over the next three years or so. The Little Chicago Road Trail will stretch down to Hazel Dell Road and connect to the Midland Trace.
Both Noblesville and Fishers hope to transform the former Nickel Plate rail line into a $9.3 million trail, a plan that has thrilled many residents (but upset some passengers accustomed to taking the Indiana State Fair Train every year). A final decision on the project is expected later this year.
This article is part of “Hot on the Trails,” IM’s road-free guide to exploring Central Indiana.