Support Nana's Place! sign now


Dear Capitol Hill Residents and Parents:

Daycare is badly needed for Capitol Hill (Hill) families. In order for the Hill to continue to become more of a family-friendly community, parents need access to affordable care for young children. Currently, most childcare facilities in the Capitol Hill and surrounding areas are at capacity and waiting lists often exceed year-long waits. It is not uncommon for growing families to notify multiple daycare facilities first- before family and employers- to get on the very long waiting lists in the hopes of securing childcare.

From my experience in seeking infant childcare for the fall of 2007 as early as January 2007, all childcare facilities that I contacted in downtown D.C. and on Capitol Hill were full and had waiting lists- some longer than one year!

Daycare is particularly difficult to procure in D.C., as most childcare facilities prioritize congressional and federal employees, some even exclude non-congressional and/or federal employees. There is a clear need for additional childcare facilities.

Hill resident, educator, and grandmother Sonja Sweek has proposed opening a new childcare facility, Nanas Place, at 1359 C Street, SE. The first official step is to receive the approval of the ANC Commissioners and then the D.C. City Council.

Concerned parents, Hill neighbors, and Sonja Sweek would appreciate your support on this petition for Nanas Place. Click the button at the bottom of this page to sign the petition statement as follows or read on for more details.

Petition statement:
We, the undersigned, support the establishment of Nanas Place, a child development center (100 children maximum/18 staff) at 1359 C Street, SE in Washington, D.C.

Thank you!

Becky Levin on behalf of concerned residents and parents on Capitol Hill


QUALIFICATIONS: Sonja Sweek is the founder of Nanas Place. Her experience and background includes;
MA Education, University of Oregon
Certificate, DC training program for daycare providers
Mother of four (three internationally adopted), grandmother (Nana) of three toddler grandsons
7 year resident of the Hill
Renovator of 4 single-family homes
Retired Foreign Service Officer, U.S. Department of State (Nine meritorious awards)
Counselor, Job Corps
Social Worker
Adoption Caseworker
Director of Group Homes for Delinquent Teenagers
Director of Safe House program for battered/abused women and children
Director of Women Training for Non-Traditional Jobs employment/training program

NEIGHBORHOOD and IMPROVEMENT: The neighborhood surrounding 14th and C Streets, NE has been plagued by crime and drug activity. Sonja Sweek purchased 1359 C Street in 2005, when crime and drug activity where active problems, and she renovated the formerly dilapidated building. The building had been a site for drug sales and drug violence, as evidenced by the bullet holes in the buildings faŠ·ade and the loitering and violence surrounding it. She actively engaged local law enforcement and pro-actively drove away drug dealers and buyers, contributing significantly to what is now a safe, quiet neighborhood.

Many neighbors are thrilled that the site will be used for childcare instead of condominiums, which would have congested the area.

NEARBY CHILDCARE FACILITIES: There is another daycare facility, The Board of Childcare, located within 2 blocks at 308 15th Street. They are currently at capacity with a waiting list.
No additional daycare is in the immediate vicinity. Payne Elementary School, located on 14th and C Streets, SE runs an after-school program through the Department of Parks & Recreation. This program, however, does not address the need of working parents for all-day care for preschool children.

FACILITY: The current building has been modernized, landscaped, and the interior has been partially renovated. The remaining rooms will be renovated once the plan to move forward is approved by city officials. There are plans to build up and add a third floor to the current two-story building. The third floor will be in keeping with the historic appearance of both the building and the neighborhood.
The building has been zoned previously as commercial space both for a print shop and ice cream store.

CAPACITY: Nanas place has been advised by the Board of Zoning Adjustment: (BZA) to apply for the maximum capacity of children, which based on the total future square footage of the building, would be 100. The city has strict requirements for capacity and once renovations are complete, they will measure the useable and permissible space to determine the final allowable capacity.

OUTDOOR RECREATION: There is no outdoor playground for Nanas Place. Children will be taken to nearby parks including Lincoln Park), on field trips, and to the Family Room (on 8th Street, SE off Pennsylvania across from the firehouse) on outings. Infants (below 2.5) will have two teachers per four children, and older children will have two staff per eight children, if not more.
Depending on classroom, education, lunch and nap schedules, trips to the park would be staggered, and not all children would go out at the same time. They would not be going to the park during peak rush hour traffic. Further all efforts will be made to ensure the safety of children en route to parks, field trips, and nearby recreational areas.
Since there will be no outdoor play space contingent to Nanas Place, noise should not be a problem for nearby residents.

HOURS: Core hours will be 7:00 am 7:00 pm. Nanas Place will not offer weekend or evening care.

PARKING: Nanas Place has contracted for daily off-street parking with Payne School and has exceeded the parking required by statute for staff, employees and visitors.

DROP-OFF and PICKUP: The DC Department of Transportation (DCDOT) has written a letter of intent to Nanas Place, noting that that they will be involved in designating at least two street spaces as drop-off points, with appropriate signage, as is done for other daycare facilities. Double-parking in front of the daycare will NOT be permitted and this prohibition will be enforced by Nanas Place employees as well as local law enforcement.
Nanas Place is aware that C Street and/or 14th Street may be pathways for nearby emergency response vehicles, as 2 firehouses are located nearby. Emergency vehicles have also had to pass parents doing drop-off and pickup at both the Board of Education daycare and Payne School, and there have been no recorded problems between emergency vehicles and parents at those two locations. Nana's Place is pro-actively working with the DCDOT to ensure that our facility does not create obstructions for emergency vehicles or neighborhood traffic.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT: Nanas Place appreciates the support of the local community, including:
The owners of the Family Room, a multi-use play space for young children located near the Eastern Market metro.
Residents of Kentucky Courts Condominiums.
The owner of the house that is attached to Nanas Place.
Capitol Hill residents (see petition signers).

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Shauna RileyBy:
International PolicyIn:
Petition target:
ANC Commissioners and D.C. City Council


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