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Flowery Branch candidates concerned with growth issues
Sewer, stormwater management on radar for Post 2 hopefuls
Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson

Flowery Branch’s key issues, including future sewer allocations and stormwater management, tie directly to growth, Post 2’s two City Council candidates said.

“We do need infrastructure before we get too far along, where we can make all that fit together,” Councilwoman Mary Jones said.

“I think there is going to be (growth) potential when we get Cinnamon Cove up and going. We have to have a way for people to hook up to this (new sewer line). You can’t expect (an area) to grow if you can’t allow them to have water and sewer.”

The city is close to finishing up a sewer line that runs from the Cinnamon Cove condominium complex on Gaines Ferry Road to the city’s treatment plant on Ga. 13/Atlanta Highway.

Jones’ challenger in the Nov. 3 election for one of two seats on Flowery Branch City Council, businessman Mark A. Wilson, said he also sees potential for growth. As a former Alpharetta resident, he has seen how that can rapidly spread.

He believes growth could charge up Thurmon Tanner Parkway between Phil Niekro Boulevard and Ga. 13. He said he envisions light industrial along the four-lane road but also higher-end commercial development closer to Phil Niekro, which leads to Interstate 985.

“I see the city expanding outward, but we really need to pay attention to the existing real estate,” Wilson said.

Overall, infrastructure is key, said Jones, a farmer and longtime city resident.

“I think we’re in the process of working on the roads, and that was a big issue,” she said, citing the Lights Ferry Connector, a downtown road under construction connecting McEver Road to Ga. 13.

“That’s going to make a tremendous difference for people going to the lake and a great deal for people in town,” Jones said.

Jones remembers when downtown was largely vacant except for City Hall.

Wilson said he believes stormwater improvements are “very necessary,” but the city also needs to consider pedestrian and bicycle-friendly amenities.

“Sidewalks and bike paths will lead us to a greener future,” he said.

City officials also are looking at a possible city hall as part of plans to extend Pine Street from Church Street to Railroad Avenue.

Jones said she sees the need given that it would consolidate offices and give the city council a larger meeting room.

Wilson said he sees the new building as something of a backburner issue “simply because of the cost.”

He believes more research is needed before pressing ahead and, for him, there are “still a lot of questions on the table.”

Early voting

Where: Hall County Board of Elections and Registrars, lower level, Hall County Government Center, 2875 Browns Bridge Road, Gainesville

When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday through Oct. 30.

Also: Voters may cast ballots 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Oct. 24 at at the North Hall Community Center, 4175 Nopone Road, or Spout Springs Library, 6488 Spout Springs Road, Flowery Branch. Voting is also available at the Government Center on Oct. 24.

Contact: 770-531-6945

Mary Jones

Age: 72

Family: Daughter, Ann, and son-in-law, Ike Swofford

Occupation: Farmer

Education: High school and continuing education

What makes you qualified to serve on the City Council?

“I have served the city of Flowery Branch for eight years (and been a) resident for 55 years. I have served on the Historic Preservation Committee for the past 10 years, president the past  three years. In this capacity, I have worked with various state agencies to obtain funds for projects. I have a feel for the city and its residents and have watched the changes through the years, and I have a clear vision for the city.

What are your goals if elected?

“To keep the city moving forward, develop the downtown area to attract visitors, while maintaining the small-town feel. To continue to provide an excellent quality of life for the residents.”

Mark A. Wilson

Age: 51

Family: Wife, Sheila

Occupation: Personal concierge-adviser

Education: Bachelor of Arts in economics, Fordham University

What makes you qualified to serve on the City Council?

“Flowery Branch needs a councilman who will demonstrate  independent thinking. I will read, research and evaluate every proposal brought forth for consideration.

“I have been active in the community for over six years. During this time I have engaged in volunteer hospice work in various capacities and locations. In addition, I serve on the board of my local neighborhood association. I hold a bachelor's degree in economics and own a personal concierge service, both of which have greatly familiarized me with fiscal and budgetary matters.”

What are your goals if elected?

“1. Exercise independent thinking while preserving and asserting the Judeo-Christian principles upon which our nation was formed. 2. Thoroughly research and evaluate the issues at hand. I believe that I have a high level of curiosity, which is an asset in matters that are often not clear-cut. I believe that not exercising that curiosity shortchanges our residents. 3. Ask difficult questions. Even though I might not like the answers, I know that there are times when I might have to respectfully challenge department heads, and even citizens in order to determine  why a certain course of action is needed.”

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