Happy Valley still doesn’t seem to get it.
According to Onward State, a student-run, independent Penn State blog, a bronze statue of the late, embattled Joe Paterno is planned to be erected outside of a local restaurant in retaliation to the university’s decision to remove the football coach’s image from outside Beaver Stadium in 2012.
“There’s been some level of frustration among Penn Staters with what happened with the statue at the stadium,” Ted Sebastianelli, one of the organizers of the project, told Onward State. “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 Paterno statue was removed in light of revelations that the coach had concealed allegations of child sexual abuse made against former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky over the years. Paterno died of complications from lung cancer earlier that same year.
“There’s a culture of people in State College that clearly appreciates what Joe has done,” Sebastianelli said. “Our alumni always want to know how we will honor him. This is something we can do for State College while getting Penn Staters from around the country involved. This has nothing to do with university. We are doing this on our own.”
The statue will be erected outside the Tavern Restaurant, a popular destination for Penn State students and alumni. The project, entitled, “Joe’s Bench,” will be re-named “Reflections” when it is completed.
“As alumni groups come back every summer to celebrate reunions, they migrate to the Tavern,” Sebastianelli said “They can sit and reflect on the bench. It really will be a wonderful addition to the community.”