MYNORTHWEST NEWS

Community pushes back against playground near nude beach

Dec 7, 2023, 12:43 PM

nude beach community...

A photo of Denny Blaine Park in Seattle (Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

(Photo: James Lynch, KIRO Newsradio)

Since the plans were announced that the City of Seattle was looking to add a playground to Denny Blaine Park, the plan has drawn heavy backlash from the community.

During a public meeting on Wednesday night, hundreds of people attended to express that they did not want plans for the playground to move forward, with some saying they saw the plan as a way to force the nude-friendly beach out.

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On The Gee and Ursula Show, an organizer with the Save Denny Blaine campaign, Sophie Amity Debs, spoke to the importance of the park for the LGBTQ+ community in Seattle.

“The nude community and the queer community have kind of settled on this single beach that’s kind of tucked away… It’s been used by the queer, the queer community dating back to the 1960s. It’s a place where a lot of us can feel really safe in our bodies,” Debs said. “Especially wearing swimsuits, a lot of trans people feel uncomfortable at other beaches, and we get negative harassment, even assaults, for being ourselves at these beaches.”

At Wednesday’s meeting, many in the LGBTQ+ community shared that Denny Blaine is the only beach they feel comfortable going to.

According to City of Seattle spokesperson Christina Hirsch, Seattle is considering putting a small children’s playground on the northwest corner of the park.

The area was identified as needing a play area due to it currently sitting within a neighborhood that doesn’t have a play area or park within a 10-15-minute walk. Denny Blaine Park is located in the Madison Park neighborhood on Lake Washington.

Debs did point out that there are other options for where to put a child-friendly park in the area, including Lakeview Park less than 1,000 feet away and shielded from the nude beach.

The playground would cost around $550,000, and much of the funding for the project would come from an anonymous private donor, who gave the money on the condition that the playground be put in Denny Blaine Park.

“The fact that the donation is being done anonymously, and it’s conditional on a playground being built here, feels like someone is trying to leverage politics to shove off the people who’ve always been using this beach,” Debs said. “So the fact that the playground is conditional and the funding by the private donor, it feels difficult to deny that it has to be an attack on the culture of the beach.”

Gee and Ursula on Denny Blaine Park nude beach: Should Seattle consider kids playground at clothing-optional beach?

No final decisions were made on the playground, but Seattle Parks and Recreation said they would take community feedback into account and would come to a decision in two weeks. Questions and comments can be sent to dennyblaineplayarea@seattle.gov.

Some suggested alternatives for the play area were made at the meeting, including:

  • Lakeview Park (850ft from Denny Blaine, with very large flat open areas and located closer to area schools and more centrally within the neighborhood).
  • Viretta Park (500ft from Denny Blaine).
  • William Grose Park (0.8 mi) – more centrally located in the Denny-Blaine neighborhood.
  • Alvin Larkins Park (0.7 mi) – much larger, with far more space for a play area.

The ‘Save Denny Blaine’ campaign started an online petition to change which park the playground is added to, and at the time of reporting has over 8,500 signatures.

Listen to Gee Scott and Ursula Reutin weekday mornings from 9 a.m. – 12 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Community pushes back against playground near nude beach