Arlington Heights Park District describes Nickol Knoll as a terraced golf course with manicured greens and natural grasses. In a brochure, the Arlington Heights Park District highlights a “look-out point where 354 communities and even downtown Chicago can be seen.”
But the lookout at “Payton’s Hill”, which commemorates former Arlington Heights resident and Chicago Bears superstar running back Walter Payton, is in a state of disrepair.
Broken glass that looks to have been there a considerable amount of time litters the lookout area. Broken glass is littered on the ground and on the lookout’s stone wall ledge. Park benches, stripped of paint, have rotted wood. Graffiti, likely gang graffiti, is tagged on the benches. Yellow spray paint is tagged on the inner side of the stone wall on the north side of the lookout. A stone pedestal on the north side of the lookout has a broken, jagged and pointy edge — not only hazardous, but an outright dangerous risk of blunt trauma from a fall on it. Two corners of the pedestal platform appear to have broken off — leaving the sharp point of stone.
Lacking foresight, a flammable plastic garbage can is positioned on the north end of the lookout just two feet from a tree. The flaming can would certainly damage or kill the shade tree inside the lookout if vandals light the can. The garbage can on the south side of the lookout is already missing. From the look of the base of the missing can, it was already torched.
Fallen leaves from a neglected cleanup last Fall remain scattered over much of the lookout “floor” near the wall and along the path.
3800 North Kennicott
(Arlington Heights, Illinois)
“This terraced golf course site has a 1.25 mile paved walking trail around the perimeter. Enjoy the manicured greens, the natural grasses and the pond – all creating a natural habitat for several bird species. Stop at the look-out point where 354 communities and even downtown Chicago can be seen. The Clubhouse with restrooms is open during golf season. Be sure to view the Walter Payton memorabilia in the Clubhouse. There are also two plaques, near the lookout and behind the Clubhouse, dedicating “Payton’s Hill”, to the former Bears football legend. Please pay attention to the signs, walking on the course or the cart paths is prohibited to non-golfers.”
— Arlington Heights Park District
Downhill from the lookout, the Arlington Heights Park District has allowed overgrown trees to block the view of the lookout — a highlight attraction in Arlington Heights as well as the northwest suburbs. Visitors can no longer see the beautiful Chicago city skyline from the lookout, and can no longer see all 354 communities highlighted in the brochure.
Lack of upkeep and lack of attention to graffiti can be a detriment to a community. Where are the park district inspectors, and when will the necessary maintenance crew assignments be completed? Hopefully, the park district can keep up with the initial intention of the lookout on “Payton Hill”, honoring Walter Payton’s memory with the preservation of the view he once saw of the Chicago skyline during his hill training workouts.
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