After nearly two years, since the historical Joe Paterno statue was removed from Penn State’s campus – a group of supporters have made plans for a new statue that will stand in front of the popular Tavern Restaurant.
The original statue was removed in July 2012, after the aftermath of the Jerry Sandusky sex scandal that darkened the glory and success that Paterno brought to the Penn State community. A group of Paterno supporters plan to raise $300,000 in support of a new bronze statue that will be in front of the popular bar, The Tavern Restaurant, where many alumni and Penn State fans visit. The restaurant is approximately two miles from the Beaver location where the original statue stood.
“There’s been some level of frustration among Penn Staters with what happened with the statue at the stadium,” Ted Sebastianelli, one of the project’s organizers told OnwardState.com, an independent, student-run Penn State news blog. “We wanted to come up with a way to honor Joe for all that he did for the State College community. It wasn’t just the university he impacted - it was the whole town.”
The Jerry Sandusky sex abuse scandal, cost Paterno his job and tarnished his coaching legacy. In January 2012, Paterno died of lung cancer - just two months after his firing. Sandusky, Paterno’s longtime defensive coordinator, is serving a 30 to 60 year prison sentence after being convicted of 45 counts of child sex abuse.
According to OnwardState.com, Tavern owner Pat Daugherty is okay with having the statue of Paterno sitting on a bench holding a copy of Virgil’s “Aenied” to stand in front of his restaurant. Herman Slaybaugh, the interim planning director for State College, told The News that no plans for the project had been submitted to his office, contrary to the OnwardState.com report. However, Slaybaugh believes that a permit would not be required. “It’s like if you wanted to put a statue or a sculpture in your yard,” Slaybaugh explained.
“As alumni groups come back every summer to celebrate reunions, they migrate to the Tavern,” said Sebastianelli. “They can sit and reflect on the bench. It really will be a wonderful addition to the community.”
A Facebook page for the project — Joe’s Bench - A Bronze Tribute — has over 1,500 likes.