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North suburban Chicago residents protest fence in front of beach

Neighbors protest fence at beach in north Chicago suburbs
Neighbors protest fence at beach in north Chicago suburbs 00:20

WILMETTE, Ill. (CBS) -- Neighbors in Wilmette on Monday protested against a slatted-wood fence that they say is an eyesore blocking beach access, and want gone.

The group rallied Monday evening outside a Wilmette Park District Board meeting to protest the fence at South Beach at Gillson Park, which went up last month.

The protesters argued that the fence restricts access to a "historically open and inclusive public space," and diminishes the beauty of the park.

In addition, as quoted in a news release, local activist Lee Goodman wrote, "Wilmette's decision to fence off the beach mirrors a troubling legacy of exclusion that still largely works to keep people of color away."

The Wilmette Park District said it built the fence to address the "growing concern about the safety and well-being of visitors."

There are now just three entry points to the beach and the water is officially open to swimmers for the first time. Lifeguards are this summer, and there is also a daily fee of $5.00 for residents and $10 for non-residents.

One resident told CBS 2 last month that she wished the village had considered an option that didn't block the view from Overlook Drive. However, the park district said moving the fence any closer to the water would endanger the dunes and the grass.

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