City Paper Widget

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Safety for Cooperative Play Program in Stead Park to Be Studied

Before D.C.'s Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) commits to establishing a Cooperative Play Program in Stead Park (1625 P Street NW), it wants to make sure the 163-year-old building there can be made safe for children.

Built during the Millard Fillmore administration
DPR Director Dr. Sharia Shanklin led a delegation of DPR employees to Stead Park on February 18 to meet local parents and other interested parties to discuss the status of the effort to bring Cooperative Play to Stead Park.

Deputy Director June Locker said, "We will find a way to make this happen."

"We need a few more weeks to think about it," Chief Operating Officer Bridget Stesney said. "We're not saying no."

The building in Stead Park that would house the program was built in 1851. It does not meet present-day requirements for a building that hosts child-care programs. For example, the building might have to be fitted with restrooms for children and also with a sprinkler system. In addition, if the program uses the second floor of the building, a staircase may have to be modified so children can more easily use it, especially in case of emergency.

"This is definitely an old building," said Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner (district 2B-04) Kishan Putta, who organized the meeting. Putta is also on the board of the Friends of Stead Park.

The team from DPR said they would have to hire an architect in early March to examine the building for compliance with building code. If all goes well, the architect's report should be done by late March and a plan to implement the needed changes in place soon after.

It's still possible to get all this done before September, when the proposed program might start. However, enrollment for Cooperative Play Programs in other locations in DC will start on March 10. It seems unlikely there will be a decision on whether to green-light the program in Stead Park before then. At this meeting, parents were told they could sign up for a Cooperative Play Program elsewhere and still be eligible to sign up for the Stead Park program if it becomes a reality later this year.

If safety issues are resolved, it seems likely the program will go ahead.

"I feel pretty confident that we're going to have the staffing," Dr. Shanklin told the Dupont Current newspaper in January.

The initiative to start a Cooperative Play Program in Stead Park was also the subject of the January 21 SALM blog post.


  1. One month has passed since this meeting-and three months since I signed the petition provided to DPR requesting a program in Stead Park. Are there any updates?

  2. The blog District Source reports the DC government sent out a Request for Proposals (RFP) to contractors interested in making the facilities more child friendly. The deadline for replies was March 18.

    I'll ask around if there's any further news.

    Here's the URL of the District Source story: