Source: The Philadelphia Inquirer
On September 27, 2003 The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that a "well-established, often well-heeled Thai community now has plans that would add an exotic element to the Bensalem skyline - a $2 million, palatial temple with a steeple rising nearly seven stories, towering over Philadelphia Park, the township hall, and surrounding businesses, churches and homes. The new Wat Mongkoltepmunee (pronounced Mong-kon-TAPE-mu-nee) would be the only Thai shrine in the United States built as a near-replica of the well-known Wat Benjamabophit in Bangkok, Thailand, members say. Wat Mongkoltepmunee was named for the late Phra Mongkhon Thepmuni, a famous abbot who headed Wat Paknam, an ancient temple in Thailand. Much of the marble, special art and decorative fixtures for the new temple would be brought from Thailand. A massive effort to fund the project is under way. Temple officials say construction is expected to start by early spring...Wat Mongkoltepmunee already has approval to build from superiors in Thailand, but Bensalem approvals are vital. The temple has received approval from the township Zoning Board, but it requires more approvals...Last month, the Zoning Board agreed to allow the temple's 75-foot steeple, which exceeds the town's height limit in that area."