Respect Overdue at Arlington Heights Park District’s Lookout at Payton Hill at Nickol Knoll — Lack of Upkeep is a Disgrace to Walter Payton

Improperly placed and overgrown trees block the view of the Chicago skyline from the Payton Hills lookout in Arlington Heights
Improperly placed and overgrown trees block the view of the Chicago skyline from the Payton Hills lookout in Arlington Heights.

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 litters the ground and yellow spray paint is tagged on the stone wall at the Payton Hill lookout
Broken glass litters the ground and yellow spray paint is tagged on the stone wall at the Payton Hill lookout.

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.

Graffiti on park bench with stripped paint and rotting wood
Graffiti on park bench with stripped paint and rotting wood.
Someone who is pushed or falls on this pointy stone in an unexpected location could be seriously injured by blunt trauma
Someone who is pushed or falls on this pointy stone in an unexpected location could be seriously injured by blunt trauma.
A flammable garbage container is never a good idea in a park, especially two feet from a tree
A flammable garbage container is never a good idea in a park, especially two feet from a tree.
Missing garbage can and supports with apparently a burned out base
Missing garbage can and supports with apparently a burned out base.

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 tree and shrub leaves from neglected cleanup from last Fall
Fallen tree and shrub leaves from neglected cleanup from last Fall.

Fallen leaves from a neglected cleanup last Fall remain scattered over much of the lookout “floor” near the wall and along the path.

NICKOL KNOLL
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.

Improperly placed and overgrown trees block the view of the Chicago skyline from the Payton Hills lookout in Arlington Heights
Improperly placed and overgrown trees block the view of the Chicago skyline from the Payton Hills lookout in Arlington Heights.

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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Pieces of broken glass located on the top of stone pedestal at the south end of the lookout wall at Payton Hill
Pieces of broken glass located on the top of stone pedestal at the south end of the lookout wall at Payton Hill.
Google Satellite 3D Payton Hill lookout facing southeast toward Chicago
Google Satellite 3D Payton Hill lookout facing southeast toward Chicago.