WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) - A Virgin Mary statue that has been the subject of controversy in West Springfield will be back at an adopted traffic island in time for Mother's Day, though it's not clear for how long.
Supporters of the statue rallied at the traffic island on South Boulevard late Friday morning.
Antonio Liquori, owner of nearby Liquori's Pizza, had adopted the island as part of the town's beautification program. In addition to seeing that the island was properly maintained, he placed the statue of Mary there, which caused complaints to come in to town government.
In a letter sent several weeks ago, Liquori was asked by Deputy Director of Operations Vincent DeSantis to remove the statue from the island. "Unfortunately, in this day and age, religious artifacts are not to be displayed on city property," DeSantis wrote.
The statue's removal caused a backlash, and numerous local residents signed a petition to allow the Madonna to return to the island.
Liquori says that Mayor Greg Neffinger got involved, telling him that he can return the statue to the island, at least until the city's lawyers have a chance to go over the case.
The statue is expected to go back up on Sunday.