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Playground plan at Denny Blaine Park faces overwhelming opposition

Hundreds of people showed up at a meeting Wednesday night in opposition. Thousands more have signed an online petition.

SEATTLE — Hundreds of people packed the MLK F.A.M.E. Community Center Wednesday night. They came out for Seattle Parks and Rec's first public forum on the plan to build a kids' play area at Denny Blaine Park.

RELATED: Seattle Parks announces plan for kids play area at well-known nude beach

While not officially designated, Denny Blaine Park is home to a well-known nude beach dating back decades. It's also become a safe space for the LGBTQ+ community, especially those who are trans, non-binary, and gender non-conforming. At Wednesday's meeting, many shared that it's the only beach they feel comfortable going to.

One by one, people spoke about their experiences at Denny Blaine Park. Most of those who shared their personal connection to the park.  Many credit the community they've found at Denny Blaine for saving their lives. Several people said they came to Seattle to find that community from other parts of the country known for being more hostile to the LGBTQ+. A proposal to put a playground at Denny Blaine feels like something they tried to leave behind.

To many, proposing a kids' play area at a place that's become a nude beach used primarily by the LGBTQ+ community feels like an attempt to demonize them. While nudity is not illegal under state law, it becomes illegal if the nudity crosses over into something obscene. Who makes the call on what's obscene is something those who use this park fear could be weaponized against them if families start showing up with their kids.

As previously reported, an anonymous donor is willing to front $550,000 to build a playground at Denny Blaine Park. That has angered countless community members. Denny Blaine sits in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Seattle. People against the proposal believe the anonymous donor is someone who lives close by and wants to push the LGBTQ+ out and/or the nude beach away from their property. KING 5 has put in a public information request to get the name of the anonymous donor.

As of the publication of this article, over 8,000 have signed an online petition to stop the play area from becoming a reality. A grassroots organization, Save Denny Blaine, has put in countless hours since November, even offering suggestions on other parks they believe would be better suited for a play area. Taking all the comments into consideration, Seattle Parks and Rec said they will make a decision on this proposal within two weeks.

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