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Joe’s Bench group moving forward with plans for Paterno statue

Joe Paterno is carried to the center of the field after winning his 400th game over Northwestern in November 2010. A group called Joe’s Bench wants to honor the late Penn State football coach with a statue and is seeking community support and input.
Joe Paterno is carried to the center of the field after winning his 400th game over Northwestern in November 2010. A group called Joe’s Bench wants to honor the late Penn State football coach with a statue and is seeking community support and input. CDT file photo

As most of State College was consumed with the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, a group of about 50 volunteers gathered to witness the private unveiling of a model of a statue of Joe Paterno.

The group, known as Joe’s Bench, has been planning this tribute to Paterno since 2012 and the final statue is expected to be completed by the fall of 2015.

The statue, designed by Zenos Frudakis, will be a bronze, life-size replica of the well-known football coach, according to a news release.

Frudakis has sculpted other sports figures, such as Paine Stewart and Arnold Palmer.

“At one point, we had a design that had Joe seated on a bench,” said Kim Intorre, one of the leaders of the project, in a news release. “But Zenos made it clear, Joe was never seated. He was always on the move.”

The model portrays Paterno walking down a football field in his memorable high-water pants.

The location for the statue has not been determined; Intorre said she hopes the community will participate in choosing the location.

Spokesman Zach Worley said the group was considering several downtown locations.

“We have to look into zoning, and we have to work with the borough on that,” Worley said.

Intorre said the group hopes to get the community involved in as much of this process as possible.

“Let them help decide where it should go,” she said in the release. “This project is about the community and the people that loved Joe.”

Although there is still more to be done before the project can come to fruition, Intorre is hopeful for the future.

“We have been working on getting to this point for over two years,” Intorre said. “There’s still a lot of money to be raised and decisions to be made, but to see Zenos’ passion for this project and the design he came up with is really just a shot in the arm.”

The group is raising funds on www.indiegogo.com with the name “Joe’s Bench.”

Additional information can be found online at www.joesbench.com.

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