Denny Blaine is saved. 

Seattle has nixed its plan to build a mostly privately-funded children’s play area at the historically queer nude beach on Lake Washington.

The city’s Department of Parks and Recreation announced the decision in a statement Friday morning after it held a packed community meeting Wednesday. Hundreds of LGBTQ advocates (and a few nudists and naturists) spoke out against the project. Losing Denny Blaine would mean losing one of the few public places in Seattle they felt safe and free, they said.

At the meeting, Parks told the crowd they’d reach a decision about Denny Blaine in two weeks, but it only took two days.

“While this area of our city still lacks accessible play equipment for kids and families, we understand the feedback that this particular park is not the best location, and we will evaluate other location alternatives,” wrote Parks spokesperson Christina Hirsch on the department’s blog.

Sophie Amity Debs, an organizer with Save Denny Blaine, the grass-roots group that led the charge to do just that, said she can finally exhale for the first time in weeks.

“We’re ecstatic—we’re so, so stoked,” she said. “Given the turnout, it felt like it would have been absurd for Parks to bulldoze ahead with the project with such overwhelming opposition.”

That opposition came swiftly. Two weeks ago, park visitor Jesse Miranda tipped off Capitol Hill Seattle Blog to the proposal, which Parks said would address a neighborhood shortage of walkable playgrounds.

But the location—a go-to summer spot for Seattle’s queer community for decades—and the revelation that an anonymous donor would pay for most of the $550,000 project, seemed suspect to many beachgoers. They quickly organized to preserve Denny Blaine as a clothing-optional queer space, starting Save Denny Blaine and a petition that more than 9,000 people have since signed.

Activists said putting a playground at Denny Blaine would dissolve a community hub by playing off the harmful “groomer” lie the far-right has peddled to push anti-LGBTQ laws across the country. They suggested other nearby parks, like Lakeview Park, as alternatives. 

Parks said the donor wished to remain anonymous. The Stranger has filed requests for their identity and more information about the project.

As The Stranger reported yesterday, almost 50 people gave passionate public comments at Wednesday’s meeting. Not one said they supported the city’s plan.

The next day, The Seattle Parks Foundation said in a statement that it stood with them. The Parks department had approached the nonprofit in August to act as a fiscal agent and project manager for the construction of the play area. In the subsequent months, it realized the potential impact did not align with its core value of equity in public spaces.

“Seattle Parks Foundation has declined to participate in this project and is actively building relationships with Denny Blaine visitors and advocates to help protect the park and ensure their voices are heard,” it wrote on Instagram.

Amity Debs with Save Denny Blaine said organizers are in talks with both the Parks Department and the Parks Foundation about forming a Friends of Denny Blaine group. She hoped the beach could be officially designated as the clothing-optional and a queer historic space it has been for so long.

“We think those kinds of designations would help to prevent anything like this from even getting to this stage of planning in the future,” she said. “And not let the city waste any money.”