[Photo: Ashley Lilly]

Community Rebuilds’ mission is to build energy-efficient housing, provide education on sustainability, and improve the housing conditions of the workforce through an affordable program. The organization is celebrating the completion of its 33rd home in Moab with an open house on Thursday, Oct. 22, from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The home is located at 703 Doc Allen Drive. Masks are required and tours will be done in small groups.

Ashley Lilly and Monty Henry, two longtime locals, are the homeowners.

Lilly’s grandparents, Ed and June Neal, came to Moab in the 1960s, where Ed was a barber for years. While Ashley wasn’t born in Moab, she’s always had family here and moved here herself as a teen – she graduated as part of the Grand County High School class of 2006.

Her partner, Monty Henry, is originally from Oregon and has lived in Moab for the last 16 years. He’s currently a bike mechanic at Double Down bike shop; Lilly works at the popular drive-through coffee shop Wicked Brew and coaches at the Gym on 5th. The two met while both working at Chile Pepper bike shop.

Lilly said she and Henry started looking for a house together “right when the prices skyrocketed.”

“It was super-difficult,” she said, noting that houses they could have afforded to buy would have needed a lot of work, which made their purchase unfeasible.

The couple eventually decided to purchase a lot on which to build and found a great spot on Doc Allen Drive with a striking view of the La Sal Mountains – but then couldn’t find a contractor.

“Everybody was about three years out,” Lilly said.

The realtor they worked with to buy the lot suggested they look into Community Rebuilds. The timing was fortuitous – the nonprofit was looking for a new build project.

Community Rebuilds has an internship program that provides hands-on sustainable building learning and keeps costs down for homeowners. But the interns were sent home when the pandemic hit, and Henry and Lilly had to do a lot of the work themselves. Fortunately, they had already purchased many household items like doors and sinks.

“It’s been great being hands-on, working with everyone,” Lilly said. “It’s just been amazing.”

Though, she conceded, “COVID was a bit rough.”

Like all Community Rebuilds homes, Lilly and Henry’s house is energy efficient and incorporates earthen plaster finishes. Their home is also equipped with solar panels. Its floor plan is also unique; this is the first time the organization has built a home with a mudroom.

At the open house, there will also be a silent auction outside the home where visitors can bid on gift cards and other items from local businesses.

“All proceeds will support providing affordable housing services at no cost to vital members of the Moab community,” said Alivia Michalski, the fundraising coordinator for Community Rebuilds.

Michalski added that Community Rebuilds anticipates completing two additional homes in the near future located at the junction of Millcreek and Sand Flats Road. These homes conform to the Living Building Challenge, a rigorous sustainable building certification.

Community Rebuilds also plans to break ground in a few months on four houses in a subdivision referred to as “The Strawburb,” located in Spanish Valley.

The organization reports that by the end of 2020, Community Rebuilds will have built a total of 44 homes and educated over 300 students in rural communities in Utah, Colorado and Arizona since its start in 2010.

For more information, visit www.communityrebuilds.org or call Michalski at 435-260-0501.

Two longtime locals, one a GCHS grad, are newest homeowners

“It’s been great being hands-on, working with everyone.”

– Ashley Lilly

When: Thursday, Oct. 22 from 4 to 6:30 p.m

Where: 703 Doc Allen Drive, Moab

Cost: Free to attend

Contact: 435-260-0501; www.communityrebuilds.org