• Cross removed from playground after mother complains

    By: Joe Bruno


    PINEVILLE, N.C. - Mecklenburg County has removed a small cross from a playground after a local mother complained that it was offensive, a decision that prompted strong opinions from both sides.

    Channel 9 reporter Joe Bruno spoke to county officials, who said it was a mistake to put it up in the first place.

    The playground at Park Road Park, which is in south Charlotte, was built in honor of the children killed in the Sandy Hook massacre in 2013 and was designed by children at Pinewood Elementary School.

    One thing that slipped through the county's review of the design was the general store.

    A small red cross was attached to the general store fixture. The county removed the cross Monday after a parent complained.

    The parent didn't want to comment on the decision to remove the cross.

    County officials said the woman felt uncomfortable with a Christian symbol in a public park. County leaders are calling the cross an oversight and said it was never meant to offend.

    "You would have hoped the county would have caught this in the first place and say, 'This is not something we want in a public space,'" County Commissioner Matthew Ridenhour said.

    Ridenhour received an email from the woman asking for the cross to be taken down.
    He said he agrees that government shouldn't be advocating for one religion, but also thinks taking it down is disappointing.

    "If we had a little more religion, a little more morality, a little more goodness in our world today, maybe we could avoid school shootings and some of the problems we face," Ridenhour told Channel 9.

    In a statement, a spokesman for the ACLU praised the county's decision.

    "The government should be inclusive of people of all beliefs and should not be making some Charlotteans feel like second-class citizens, especially children," Mike Meno of the ACLU said.

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