Citizen input and the planning of city council have led the City of Centennial through many achievements and milestones as it moves into its 16th year as a city, Mayor Cathy Noon said in her State of Our City speech on April 13.
In her last term as mayor and final year giving the annual address, Noon paused to keep from crying.
“I'm proud of this amazing journey and even prouder that we're creating a new roadmap for future generations,” Noon said.
Noon touched on a variety of issues during the presentation at Embassy Suites Denver Tech Center, including accomplishments in 2016 and upcoming and ongoing projects.
Noon addressed the amount of ongoing road construction within the city.
Some major projects:
• The city completed the reconstruction and widening of 1.5 miles of Arapahoe Road between Waco Street and Himalaya Way.
• CDOT's widening construction on Arapahoe Road and I-25 began and is expected to be completed in the summer of 2018.
• Construction creating a toll lane in either direction of C-470 from I-25 to Wadsworth Boulevard began.
“Of course, construction is never fun,” Noon said. “It always feels like it takes forever. But, improvements to infrastructure remain at the forefront of budget decisions locally and nationally.”
In 2016, the city invested in snow removal, street rehabilitation and traffic congestion. The $8.6 million budget for Centennial's 2016 street rehabilitation program will increase to $10 million this year.
An allocated $1 million was awarded to bettering the snow removal program for the next five years in 2016, bringing an additional five snow plows to more efficiently clear the roads.
The city set aside $1.25 million this year for the first phase of the city's Intelligent Transportation System. This program will install travel time monitors, improve traffic signal detection and connect all traffic signals to the upgraded master system.
'Effective and innovative'
Centennial drove forward with its goal to implement a fiber-optic system through major corridors within the city. The city's $5.7 million Fiber Master Plan is scheduled to be completed by 2018.
The city council created its Fiber Commission to oversee Centennial FiberWorks, the program administering the implementation of fiber into the city.
Go Centennial wrapped up in 2017. Go Centennial was a pilot program enabled by the city's $1.5 million grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies' Innovation Team program, a grant that allows the city to explore new approaches to improving residents' lives.
The six-month pilot program sought to remedy the first- and last-mile problem, getting citizens to and from the Dry Creek Light Rail Station by offering free Lyft rides.
The Innovation Team's next challenge is identifying solutions to help Centennial's seniors navigate housing in the city.
“Centennial continues to live up to its founding principles of being effective and innovative,” Noon said.
Noon mentioned the works completed by both the Senior Commission and the Youth Commission.
The senior commissioners volunteered with both Meals on Wheels and Project CURE and interviewed local veterans to put their stories on the city's veterans page. The commission also hosted a job fair and shared senior resources.
Centennial Rotary launched Prime Timers, a program giving seniors an opportunity to meet other seniors in their community.
The Youth Commission sat as magistrates on 20 Teen Court panels. They also raised funds to help students with disabilities attend a camp. The commission awarded scholarships to deserving Centennial teens. For their efforts in hosting a job fair for youths, the Youth Commission received the Leading by Example award from Arapahoe/Douglas Works.
“You'll notice we are experiencing a construction boom, transforming undeveloped areas of Centennial, bringing more jobs and a wider variety of shopping, dining and service options to the area,” Noon said.
The completion of Centennial NEXT will update the 2004 comprehensive plan and provide a guideline for development of the city throughout 2030.
Some other highlights:
• The Trails and Recreation Plan will update a 2007 plan once completed this year.
• The Glenn and INOVA are multi-family housing and office units under construction.
• Encompass Business Park will gain a 150,000-square-foot industrial building on Potomac Street.
• Eight hotels are under construction or going through the development review process.
Bringing home honors
Centennial received recognition on numerous lists last year.
• One of the safest cities in Colorado (CQ Press)
• 13th best place to live in America (Money Magazine)
• Fourth most successful city in the nation (Zippa Inc.)
• Best city in Colorado for first-time homebuyers (NerdWallet)
Centennial by the numbers
Median age of residents
Percentage of city revenues generated by sales tax
: Number of registered businesses
: Median household income
: City's population