Not impressed with handling of Nickel Plate

To the Editor,

This will be the second time in my almost 50 years that I have felt strongly enough to write to an editorial.  The Nickel Plate issue has been the subject of strong feelings. I have followed this for several months and have been unimpressed with the way our county/city officials have handled it.

When I started following it, the Mayors had announced the plan to convert the rail line to a trail. The key to their argument was that the rail line wasn’t safe. So, I started researching this. I found out that the HHPA had declared that is wasn’t safe.

My question was, who is the HHPA?  I thought it was a state or federal agency. Wrong. Hamilton County entity. So, next I ask myself, who on this board has the qualifications to make that statement? I am still not sure on that point.

The ITM then had two different assessments done on the rail. Both said the tracks were safe, with the second saying, and I quote, “The tracks are in surprisingly good shape with just needing minor normal maintenance.” OK, so there goes that argument to tear them out.

Next they splash the front page with the idea that the park is contaminated due to the trains. That didn’t fly either. At this point, I decided that I should get involved in some small capacity.

I did donate to the Save the Nickel Plate fund. I attended a couple of meetings. The community center was packed both times. I took the time after these meetings to email county and city officials here in Noblesville. I received two personal responses from County Council members. No one else responded except a canned response from  Mayor Ditslear’s office. That is very sad.

Government, no matter what the level, should be responsive to a citizen. I work, I pay taxes and I VOTE. Then I read that the Deputy Mayor tried to stack a meeting with supporters for the Trail. WOW. When that story broke, I read with disbelief the Mayor’s response to it. I have news for him.  Being called a “Very Vocal Minority’ was an insult. I would ask him why the Deputy Mayor was trying to stack the meeting with people for the trail if it is such an overwhelming majority!

I notice each day on my travels through northern Hamilton County, the growing number of yard signs supporting the train. These are people who have donated money to the cause. Just think about the amount of people who want to keep the train who can’t afford to donate or don’t get that involved. In all fairness, I did see one “Rails to Trails” sign at a Cicero business. It came down within a matter of days. I have a high school education, but common sense tells me that if the trail was the popular idea with the citizens here, that they would be passionate about that cause as well.

I was not shocked when they announced the new operators of the train. It would further their agenda to choose the one that only wants to go north. The Fair train has been a staple of this county for as long as I have been in the area.  I would assume it would be the profit center for the rail line. I spoke to quite a few people who really liked the idea of the train going to downtown Indy. With parking, driving, etc., it would seem to be a great option for folks going there for events and would be profitable for the train. Would seem to be a win-win.  But that would kill the idea for Fishers and Noblesville to have their own “Monon Like” trail.

I for one like living in Noblesville where we still have a REAL old downtown. In Carmel, and Fishers to an extent, they have erased any signs of their old towns. We still have the beautiful courthouse and the history of our town.  I am afraid that we are going to lose it if the powers that be keep going.

I am going to close this with a couple thoughts.

1. Do we really need to spend 9.2 million dollars just to be like Carmel?

2. Do we really want to erase this great piece of our community just so some politicians can create a legacy?

3. Mayors and County Commissioners, remember that we are voters. This “Vocal Minority” has brought A LOT of attention to this fiasco and when election time comes, don’t be surprised if there are more of us than you think!

4. Logan Day, I have never met you, but thank you for all of your efforts. I will be donating more.

Hopefully, we can stop the efforts of a few to push their agenda on the many.

Thank you,

Richard Miller