Leslie Jarchow’s election to Flowery Branch City Council last week could be traced to one bite of the U-Gene sandwich at Common Grounds coffee shop in the city’s downtown.
Nearly four years ago, she and husband Philip were looking at a place to raise their young daughter, Ava.
They felt the town had charm, with its farmers markets and 5K races, but the sandwich with turkey, bacon, cheese and barbecue sauce “sealed the deal.”
The Jarchows settled in the city’s Sterling on the Lake subdivision, where Leslie found that she wanted to do more than enjoy block parties and other community events.
“I have a heart for service,” she said in an interview at her home Thursday, Nov. 8. “I heard of the post coming open, regrettably with Mr. (Fred) Richards’ passing, and I thought that would be a great opportunity to serve.”
She is set to be sworn in to the Post 3 seat at the council’s meeting on Thursday, Nov. 15, after defeating Christine Worl in the Nov. 6 special election. She fills a seat held by Richards, who died June 14.
“My No. 1 priority is to establish open lines of communication. I was really surprised to find that a lot of people felt like they weren’t getting heard. I genuinely want to hear all the different voices, and I’m going to do my due diligence and research on any issue that arises.”
Jarchow, 35, grew up in Hall County, earning a degree in political science from North Georgia College & State University in Dahlonega, now the University of North Georgia, then went on to work in real estate and mortgage lending.
She has served in the Junior League of Hall County and on the Hall County Library Board.
A political newcomer, a profile of Jarchow on Flowery Branch’s website says her business background gives “her the kind of qualifying edge needed to make educated decisions on resolution opportunities put before the council.”
In preparing for her new role, she has been drawn particularly to the city’s downtown revitalization plan.
“I want to see downtown become even more of a place where people can work, live and play,” Jarchow. “I want to see some nightlife and more activity there.”
She said she doesn’t have any particular burning issues going into office.
“I think the current council is doing a really good job,” she said. “They’re conservative with the budget. They try to keep tax dollars low. They seek other funds in the way of grants and things like that.”
The city faces a number of issues, largely pertaining to growth. Hall County could begin widening Spout Springs Road next year, Exit 14 off Interstate 985 is slated to open by fall 2019, and hundreds of homes are being built or are set to be built in coming years.
Jarchow said she believes growth and development are positive things.
“But you want it to be strategic and make sure the city is able to handle it in terms of infrastructure,” she said. “I’d like to see growth that expands on what’s already beautiful about Flowery Branch.”