5 takeaways from Centennial State of Our City address

Fiber internet, trails, shopping centers among focuses

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Centennial took a victory lap at its 2019 State of the City address, with the mayor nodding toward upcoming projects as well as initiatives already in place to speed up internet and further build out the area's vast trails system.

“The City of Centennial continues to be intentional, future ready, fiscally sustainable, economically viable and one of the safest cities in Colorado,” Mayor Stephanie Piko said at the April 17 event.

The theme “live connected, grow together” set the tone for the speech, which highlighted Centennial's partnerships with the school, library, and park and recreation districts that serve it as a city that contracts for much of its services.

“I would like to acknowledge and thank all of our community partners, for they complete the experience that is living in Centennial,” Piko said.

Here's a look at the noteworthy developments and projects referenced in the city's 15th annual address.

School districts upgrading

The Littleton Public Schools district covers the west part of Centennial, and Cherry Creek Schools covers the rest, roughly from South Holly Street to near highway E-470.

“Our schools are a big part of what brings neighborhoods together,” Piko said. “We are looking forward to the exciting days ahead as Littleton Public Schools is able to revitalize and grow by investing in its infrastructure and designing new opportunities in education for their students.”

LPS voters passed a bond in November that promised to rebuild some schools, erect a new stadium at Newton Middle School in Centennial and provide a career and technical education center where students can learn vocational skills.

Piko also pointed to the Cherry Creek district's upcoming college- and career-preparedness facility for the district's high schoolers, focusing on areas like STEAM — science, technology, engineering, arts and math — automotive and aviation curriculum, and health services, to name a few. That's set to open this fall.

Full on fiber

The city's years-long effort to build an underground system to provide higher-speed internet concluded near the end of last year, and the connections to it are already stacking up.

“Having completed our FiberWorks project in 2018 — on time and under budget — we have put in place a new infrastructure that brings the opportunity for affordable and accessible high-speed internet to help residents and businesses achieve their goals,” Piko said.

The fiber-optic cable system is about 50 miles long in “rings” in the east, west and central parts of the city. Cherry Creek Schools, SEAKR Engineering and two internet providers, including Ting, have signed leases to use the system.

Blazing more trails

The many trails that run through Centennial are on track to get even more connected as the city spends on new trailways.

“We continue to partner with South Suburban and Arapahoe Park and Rec districts — along with Arapahoe County Open Space — to improve trail connectivity across the city and upgrade play for residents of all ages and abilities,” Piko said.

The Lone Tree Creek Trail, when finished, will stretch from East Broncos Parkway near Centennial Airport all the way to Cherry Creek State Park, passing Centennial Center Park along the way.

The East West Trail, a gargantuan path spanning the city, is expected to stretch from E-470 and East Arapahoe Road to South Broadway.

Taking action on energy

The city's recently announced Energy Action Plan provides potential cost savings through a partnership with Xcel Energy.

Its goal is “to create a future for Centennial that is resilient for its citizens and businesses through improved energy efficiency, enhanced connectivity, education and cost savings,” Piko said.

Arapahoe Libraries, South Suburban Parks and Recreation, Colorado State University Arapahoe Extension and city residents gave input on the plan, according to Piko's presentation.

'Sparking' Centennial

The city aims to get ideas bubbling about how shopping center spaces can play a role in the “new era of retail shopping trends,” Piko said.

The Spark Centennial program, unveiled during the address, will help citizens create pop-up events to help draw crowds to shopping centers in Centennial. The city will provide planning resources and up to $4,000 toward events, a news release said. Examples could include events like an event to beat a Guinness World Record or a temporary art café in a vacant storefront, the release said.

For more information or to submit an idea, visit centennialco.gov/spark.

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