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New statue of Joe Paterno planned for downtown State College in 2015

Penn State removed a statue of Joe Paterno from outside Beaver Stadium in July 2012.Penn State removed its statue of Joe Paterno in July 2012, six months after the coach's death. (John Beale/AP)

Penn State removed an iconic statue of late coach Joe Paterno from outside Beaver Stadium in 2012. Now State College residents are planning a new statue to honor the former Nittany Lions coach.

A group is planning to install a bronze statue of Paterno outside the Tavern Restaurant in State College in 2015, according to a report from Onward State. Paterno will be seated on a bench reading a copy of “Aeneid." Organizers of the project, currently called "Joe's Bench," say the goal is to recognize Paterno's impact on the community.

“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, said. “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.”

Paterno was fired in November 2011 for his role in the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal. He passed away in January 2012, and the university controversially removed Paterno's statue from just outside Beaver Stadium the following July. Sebastianelli said "Joe's Bench" is an undertaking that is unrelated to Penn State or the end of Paterno's coaching career.

"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 group is hoping to raise $300,000 for the completion of the project. A Facebook page for "Joe's Bench" says the project aims to shed light on the person that Paterno was.

This project is to portray the Joe Paterno we know. He was a very approachable person, who would be seen walking downtown, in stores, and standing on the street talking to passersby.

Sitting on the bench with Joe will allow us to reflect on where we have been, where we are, and where we are going. A time to capture the small town feel, remembering our roots, and those who paved the way for us.

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