STERLING – Kip Aitken lost his seat on the Sterling Park District Board of Commissioners in April, but he wasn't gone for long.
Aitken was one of three candidates who ran for two board seats in the spring election. The other incumbent, Dave Stutzke, and newcomer Richard Andersen were elected to the board in a competitive race. Stutzke, a 20-year commissioner, had 1,112 votes, while Andersen had 913, and Aitken 782.
Andersen's main reason for running was his interest in the financially challenged Emerald Hill golf course, which became the overriding issue in the race. Aitken had gained a reputation as a fiscal conservative during his time on the board.
Not long after the election, however, Jennifer Zuithoff notified the park district of her impending resignation from the board. The park district called a special meeting in May to discuss the vacancy, and Aitken was nominated to finish the remainder of Zuithoff's 2-year term.
Park District Executive Director Larry Schuldt said Aitken, after the election, had told him he would be interested in filling any vacancies on the board.
"The board discussed opening it up to other people, and they specifically talked about looking for another female, but at the end of the day, Kip had put himself out there and made the effort to run again," Schuldt said.
Zuithoff was the only woman on the 5-member board.
Another consideration was Aitken's tennis background. He is a certified tennis pro and coaches at the high school level.
"With the renovation of Westwood to a tennis facility, it made sense to have Kip here, because he brings a wealth of tennis knowledge," Schuldt said.
Aitken, a Pittsburgh native, was sworn in and reclaimed his board seat during the May 15 meeting. He is the director of physician recruitment at CGH Medical Center.
This isn't the first time Aitken has finished an unexpired term on the park board. In October 2014, he was chosen to complete Jennifer Campbell's term after she resigned. Aitken then won another 2-year term in the April 2015 general election.
Aitken also serves on boards at Woodlawn Arts Academy and Sterling Rock Falls Child Care.
The Sterling Park District Board of Commissioners next meets at 6:30 p.m. June 19 at Duis Recreation Center, 211 E. St. Mary's Road.