Penn State University isn't involved. The Paterno family isn't involved. But State College might soon have another Joe Paterno statue all the same.
A group of self-described "Penn Staters" is set to start a $300,000 Kickstarter project that would place the new statue outside a downtown State College tavern, Onward State reported Wednesday. The statue would be designed and sculpted in bronze by artist Zenos Frudakis, and would feature Paterno seated on a bench holding a copy of the "Aeneid."
“There's been some level of frustration among Penn Staters with what happened with the statue at the stadium,” Ted Sebastianelli, a former president of the Penn State Football Letterman's Club and a Board of Trustees candidate, 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 statue has already been approved by the city, with the provision it be placed on private property.
The Kickstarter is set to begin in July, almost exactly two years after Penn State president Rodney Erickson ordered the removal of the university's statue of Paterno in summer 2012. Proceeds from a locally produced documentary titled "The People's Joe" are also set to help fund the project.
Though Penn State has said it would honor Paterno in some fashion in the future, the fate of the removed statue -- in storage at an undisclosed location -- remains unclear.
That uncertainty helped motivate the new statue project, which Sebastianelli was proud to say has "nothing to do with the university." But as has repeatedly been the case with attempts to preserve Paterno's legacy in the face of his role in the Jerry Sandusky scandal, if the group's plans come to fruition -- and that's a great big giant "if," given the $300,000 price tag -- the university will no doubt have to work to distance itself from its supporters' efforts all the same.