Arden Hills City Council appoints new member to fill vacant seat

Jonathan Wicklund
Jonathan Wicklund

It's been several months since Arden Hills council member Robert Woodburn's seat was made vacant after he died of complications related to injuries he sustained in a car accident. 

Woodburn, known as "Woody," was 85 when he passed away Oct. 2. The city council marked mid-January on its calendar to fill his seat, allowing time for applicants to apply and the winter holidays to pass, Arden Hills Mayor David Grant said.

After interviews on Jan. 11 and 13, and a follow-up council discussion Jan. 19, the council appointed Jonathan Wicklund to the post on Jan. 25.

 

Shorter term

Though Woodburn's term was set to expire in 2018, Wicklund, who was selected from a field of seven applicants, will serve to the end of 2016. 

Because more than two years remained in Woodburn's unexpired term, according to state law, the seat will be on the November ballot for a special two-year term, Grant said. Consequently, Wicklund's appointed term will run through December 2016.

Grant said come November, Wicklund will have the opportunity to run for re-election if he chooses to do so. 

"He seems very energetic, very knowledgeable, and he was very impressive in the interview," Grant said of Wicklund.

Wicklund said his family moved to the Lake Johanna area when he was 3, and later he moved to the southwest area of Arden Hills. He attended Bethel University, and now lives in the northern part of the city.

"Jonathan has a lot of background here," Grant said. "He understands this city well."

The new face

Wicklund, 41, and his wife, Aleeta, have three children, ages 11, 9 and 5. He is the executive director of Trout Lake Camps, which has locations in Pine River, Minnesota, and in Iowa, though he said he works mostly out of the Twin Cities. 

Wicklund said he's happy to serve on the council, because he's always had an interest in public service. The fact that his term will be limited to one year is not necessarily a negative thing for him, he said. 

"It'll be like a test run for me."

Wicklund explained that he's looking forward to navigating his new role as a council member, and learning how to balance it with his family and career. 

"It's a big commitment to be on the council," Wicklund said.

If all goes well, he added, he may consider running to retain his seat in the fall, but that's something he said he might not decide until later this year.

"I have a passion to see the city of Arden Hills be the best that it can possibly be for the folks that live here," Wicklund said. "It has a legacy of being a great city to live in, and I just want to be able to help further that mission and make sure that continues to happen."

The expansion of Arden Hills through the redevelopment of TCAAP is one of the hot topics the city is currently focusing on, but with that growth and development, Wicklund said, the focus also needs to remain on "maintaining the integrity of the city and the school system."

Jesse Poole can be reached at jpoole@lillienews.com or at 651-748-7815. Follow him on Twitter @JPooleNews.

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