Closing Centennial’s first decade

Posted 1/4/10

The year 2010 will mark the first decade since the vote that launched Centennial’s beginnings as the newest city in the immediate Denver metro …

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Closing Centennial’s first decade


The year 2010 will mark the first decade since the vote that launched Centennial’s beginnings as the newest city in the immediate Denver metro area.

Not surprisingly, Centennial — an idea hatched at a Greenwood Village pancake restaurant in 1998 — has been feeling its growing pains in recent years.

The pains were born of change. In 2008, voters approved a home-rule charter, which has allowed the city greater autonomy under the Colorado Constitution. The city has also made headlines for its low crime rate and relative affluence.

But the municipality crafted from unincorporated Arapahoe County still struggles to find an identity. And while Centennial grows, critics — including some of its founders — think the city has lost sight of its original vision of limited government and grassroots spirit.

As the new decade turns on Jan. 1, Centennial will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the vote that created it in 2000, though it did not actually become a city until the first council was elected the following year.

Centennial, stretching from Littleton to Aurora, is a city of 103,000 and a socio-economically diverse community whose people often make the news in ways that captivate the blogosphere.

2009 was no exception for the government or the people who created it.


As the economy wanes, the City of Centennial launches Explore Centennial, a campaign to encourage residents to support local businesses and keep their sales-tax dollars in the city.

Outgoing Mayor Randy Pye accepts a senior vice- president position with Capitol Solutions, a firm that lobbies on behalf of the development industry; the move draws quiet criticism from some in Centennial.

After months of fielding complaints and reviewing data, the city unveils a multi-pronged education and mitigation program to address urban coyotes.


Cathy Noon, chair of the elected commission that drafted Centennial’s home-rule charter in 2008, announces her candidacy to become the 8-year-old city’s second mayor.


District 4 City Councilmember Todd Miller declares his candidacy for mayor in front of the new Centennial Civic Center with founding Mayor Pye at his side.


In the face of growing criticism of code enforcement, the city council holds off on stricter rules — including one that would have allowed officers to view violations from a neighbor’s property.

Term-limited Mayor Pye delivers his final State of Our City address nine years after leading the incorporation movement, proclaiming, “My job is done.”

The city council begins considering plans to turn 11 acres surrounding the new civic center into an expansive, multi-faceted park. names Centennial the second most affluent community in Colorado, second only to Highlands Ranch.


Centennial vegan Kelley Coffman-Lee makes national headlines for her unsuccessful efforts to receive a personalized license plate reading “ILVTOFU.”

Due to declining enrollment in Littleton Public Schools, Lewis Ames Elementary closes its doors.

Fourteen new U.S. citizens from nations as disparate as Poland and India are sworn in as the newest office of the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Service opens in Centennial.


District 3 City Councilmember Rebecca McClellan, Centennial’s representative on an intergovernmental coalition formed to reconfigure the busy I-25/Arapahoe Road interchange, launches vocal protests of an unexpected alternative that would send Arapahoe traffic into residential neighborhoods.


McClellan and other civic activists begin raising fiscal concerns about the council’s plans to use $4.78 in Arapahoe County-provided open-space funds to build a civic center park.

In a sign of things to come, Southglenn Public Library opens its new location at the still-incomplete Streets at Southglenn development.


District 1 City Councilmember Betty Ann Hamilton [formerly Habig] abruptly moves out of her district and resigns, prompting the council to set a special election in November to replace her.

A pick-up truck crashes into the west side of the Centennial Civic Center; no one is injured.

After many delays and rumors, the $310 million Streets at Southglenn officially opens amid fanfare on the site of the former Southglenn Mall.


Littleton Public Schools cancels elections due to a lack of contested races; the district announces a slight growth in enrollment after years of decline that had resulted in recent school closures.


Mayoral candidate Todd Miller raises more than twice the money of his nearest competitor, Cathy Noon.

The City of Centennial honors nine local businesses — large and small — at the second annual Best of Centennial ceremony.

District Attorney Carol Chambers officially opens her new main office for the 18th Judicial District in Centennial.


By a seven-point margin, Cathy Noon is elected the second mayor of Centennial and the first woman to hold the job.

Civic activist Ron Phelps wins the crowded special election to replace Betty Ann Hamilton by 42 votes.

Andrew Graham, 23, is found murdered in the Willow Creek neighborhood — Centennial’s first homicide investigation in three years.

For the fifth consecutive year, Centennial has Colorado’s lowest crime rate on a list of larger U.S. cities.

The assets of Centennial-based Speed of Wealth are frozen as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission investigates its ties to an alleged Ponzi scheme.

CannaMart, Centennial’s only medical-marijuana dispensary, sues the city after being forced to close.

The city hosts its first official Christmas tree lighting at Streets at Southglenn.


In anticipation of the 2010 census, an office of the U.S. Census Bureau opens in Centennial and the city launches a campaign to encourage residents to participate; it will be the first national count since Centennial was founded in 2000.

Centennial’s Wayne Watson, the first known consumer case of “popcorn lung,” settles his lawsuit against a manufacturer of artificial flavoring for microwave popcorn; details are not disclosed.


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