“We think it’s a great mission, we really do it just doesn’t belong where they are putting it at,” Graham said.
Longtime Utica business owner David W. Evanczyk, who is an adviser to Jacob’s Well and whose wife, Wilma, is on the organization’s board, said he did not know the motivation of those opposed to Jacob’s Well locating in Utica and said it may be misunderstanding about the facility’s use.
“This is not a battered women’s facility,” he said.
He added that it is a privately funded program that does not rely on any taxpayer money.
“Jacob’s Well and their board is just totally bewildered by the [opposition’s] effort,” he said. “We have been unable to talk with them or determine any purpose they have. We just don’t have a thorough understanding of where they’re at.”
Jacob’s Well is already facing one legal battle in the form of an ongoing lawsuit against the organization that challenges the use of the building for the group’s intended mission. Lewis said that suit was filed against both Jacob’s Well and the Greater Clark County School Corp. based on provisions in the deed recitals that state the old school building is to be used for parks and recreation purposes.
The lawsuit has not moved forward because it is waiting for a special judge to be appointed in the case.
Barbara Williar declined to comment for this story, referring a reporter to Lewis.