Joe’s Bench project goes back to the drawing board

A project to honor Joe Paterno with a statue in downtown State College is apparently heading back to the bench.

Last week, at a private event, the group behind the proposed statue, calling itself Joe’s Bench, unveiled a model of a statue that showed a likeness of the late Penn State football coach standing, not seated, as the original plan and the project’s name would suggest.

It led to confusion and complaints from some supporters, and on Monday, the group announced it was changing course.

“Because this is a community-driven effort, and the bench concept continues to be incredibly popular, (sculptor) Zenos Frudakis is currently working on a revised model of Joe Paterno, and we will have that made public the minute the Joe’s Bench team receives it,” the group posted on its website Monday.

The group originally told supporters, who have donated about $35,000 toward the project, that the bronze statue would show the coach sitting on a bench and reading Virgil’s epic poem the “Aeneid.”

But the model revealed last week showed Paterno walking down a football field in his memorable high-water pants.

“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.”

Now, the project appears to be headed back to the drawing board. The group said Frudakis will develop a new and final design and that it could take months. They said there is no time frame for when the final product could be installed.

“During the last week, we have faced many challenges, and been personally attacked for simply doing something we felt, and still feel, is the right thing to do,” the group said on its website. “Therefore, if our own sense of compromise warrants anything, perhaps it will be more personal involvement — on every level.”