Nativity scene allowed in Illinois park

Dec. 14, 2012 at 3:26 PM

ARLINGTON HEIGHTS, Ill., Dec. 14 (UPI) -- A Nativity scene will be displayed on public land in an Arlington Heights, Ill., park, after the village's Park District gave its approval to the plan.

After weeks of controversy, a free one-time, special-use permit was approved Thursday, allowing the Illinois Nativity Scene Committee to erect a diorama depicting Jesus' birth, 5 feet wide and 4 feet tall, separate from the Chicago suburb's annual seasonal light display, the Chicago Tribune reported Friday.

"This is an excellent spot. We're not somewhere in the middle between Rudolph and the candy canes and Frosty," said Jim Finnegan, leader of the committee.

Park officials said Finnegan's original offer of the display was rejected because it was not in line with the light display's theme of Christmas toys, adding a special permit would be required to include it.

A statement from the Park District distanced itself from the religious display, noting no park personnel would be involved in its presentation, and that it would not be an annual component of the event.

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