A devastating fire destroyed the Lao Buddhist Temple of Colorado in Westminster in December 2011.
And now, the Lao community is beginning the process of rebuilding their temple, a place that not only serves as a gathering building for their Theravada Buddhist religion practices, but also a place to sustain their culture.
Since then, the Laotian community has been gathering in a large tent on the property at 10685 Dover St. and on Oct. 2, the Laotian community hosted a community meeting inviting neighbors to view the proposed plans for the redevelopment of the Lao Buddhist Temple.
Westminster city planner Patty McCartney said the meeting is just the beginning stage of planning process to construct a new temple. She said the plan is still in review process and eventually will move forward to the planning commission and then city council.
The plans include two buildings, a small 30-foot by 30-foot building to be used by the monks and a second larger building, 90-foot by 90-foot, which will be the temple.
The property is about 4.5 acres total and according to Tom Pong, project director of the rebuilding team, the new temple will have a capacity of about 300-350 people.
“This site and temple means so much to our entire Lao community and has been the center point for us to continue with our peaceful Theravada Buddhist religion practices, shelter for our entire community to gather and sustain our culture and a place for refuge for those in need of help,” Pong said.
“It is open to all who are interested in learning more about our rich culture and peaceful religious meditation practice.”
Pong said securing all of the financing for the redevelopment will be challenging, but seeing the white tent every day and knowing some elderly members of the Lao Buddhist community are waiting to see the redevelopment come to life are great sources of motivation.
“We have terminally ill members who want to see this erected,” he said.
“That is very motivating for our community. And we have faith and trust in each other that it will happen.”
For more information or to donate to the Lao Buddhist Temple in Westminster, visit www.watlaodenver.net.