Daycare owner fighting to open up in Zion against marijuana farm

A daycare owner in the far north suburbs says Zion officials care more about marijuana money than little kids.

She wants to move her daycare, but they are planning to let a marijuana farm move in, instead.

Krystle McNeely is teaching her young students at Zoe Life Academy honesty, and that a dream may be deferred, but not denied.

McNeely is fighting to relocate her home daycare in Wadsworth to an industrial area that is 4.5 miles away in Zion.

"They’re preferring cannabis over children," she said.

In December 2020, the lawyer turned teacher got the green light from the Zion City Council on a special permit for her academy to open up.

"I want to provide a private education experience locally," she said.

However, it is in limbo because of a yearslong fight to relocate a marijuana greenhouse from Aurora to Zion. State law would prohibit it from being close to a school or daycare.

"I said, ‘how long have you known about this?’ They Said 5 to 6 years. I told them I appreciate your plan but that’s not our problem," McNeely said.


After repeated calls, Zion’s city administrator David Knabel failed to get back with us, but told the Chicago Tribune he recommends revoking the special permit because of "incompatible and unsafe" conditions.

Parents say that response is not good enough.

"They didn’t make sure what they needed to do was in place and they want the kids to pay for it, that’s unacceptable," said Catrice Holmes.