Year in review

Looking back and forward in Centennial for the new year

Local leaders reflect on 2018, talk goals for 2019

Posted 1/2/19

Colorado Community Media reached out to Centennial’s city manager, the local chamber of commerce leader and the superintendent of Littleton Public Schools to hear their thoughts on the last year …

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Year in review

Looking back and forward in Centennial for the new year

Local leaders reflect on 2018, talk goals for 2019

Posted

Colorado Community Media reached out to Centennial’s city manager, the local chamber of commerce leader and the superintendent of Littleton Public Schools to hear their thoughts on the last year and what might be in store in 2019. Here’s what they had to say:

Matt Sturgeon, city manager

The biggest challenge for the city in 2018: There was a lot of change in 2018. It was my first full year as city manager, and three new city councilmembers and a new mayor were sworn into office. When you have that many new faces at one time, you have to learn the best methods to communicate and work to establish trust with one another. 

This is all done while carrying out the business of the city. As we conclude 2018, I think we came through it rather well and are in a good place to begin 2019. There were some lessons learned and a strong foundation was built to move forward with confidence. 

What the atmosphere was like in the city: The atmosphere in and around the city has been positive. 2018 was a busy year, and city council and staff were able to complete some multi-year projects including: the adoption of Centennial NEXT (the city’s comprehensive plan) and the city’s 50-plus-mile fiber backbone.

The city continued to place emphasis on road maintenance and successfully completed over $6 million of street rehabilitation work. The thing that stood out was how important communication and partnerships are in achieving these positive outcomes. 

What he’s most looking forward to taking on in 2019: If I have to pick one, and because traffic is always at the top of list, I am looking forward to the continued implementation of the city’s Intelligent Transportation System (ITS), including Centennial’s collaboration with Lone Tree and Greenwood Village on a multi-jurisdictional effort to create a connected, data-driven traffic management plan for Yosemite Street between Lincoln and Belleview avenues. We all realize traffic doesn’t stop at the city limit boundary, so being able to find ways to work together with other jurisdictions on traffic management is critical. Yosemite is just the starting point.    

What he’s looking forward to in Centennial: Arapahoe High School graduation. My son will be graduating from high school in 2019, which is a big milestone. My daughter is already in college, which means my wife and I will be empty nesters. That’s wild to think about.

Bob Golden, president of South Metro Denver Chamber of Commerce

What was most memorable in the local business community in 2018: The continued growth in our area. Not just the growth that’s happened, but the potential growth, both on the commercial and residential side.

The Centennial city staff and particularly the elected leadership do a really wonderful job of reaching out to the business community. We’ve been doing a lot of grand openings and ribbon cuttings — Mayor Stephanie Piko comes to those (as well as other officials). The city does a really good job, and there are other cities around it that you can’t say that for.

The City of Centennial — we hear it so much from our members — they just make it easy for business for open and stay in business in Centennial.

What surprised him in 2018 in the business community: I thought the city would get more response from the Centennial NEXT initiative. But they really did a good job. They were out in the community trying to get responses.

I guess I’m surprised at how many people moved here, to the southern part of the Denver area. The continued migration has been a little surprising.

What he’s looking forward to in the business community 2019: I was on that Centennial NEXT steering group, and that one really had what I thought was a pretty significant piece of work. The fact they gauged the public to see what things should look like between now and 2040 … I think the City of Centennial deserves accolades for that project.

The RidgeGate community in Lone Tree, if you haven’t seen that, that’s going to be off the charts — a mixed community, mixed business and residential, a little bit industrial. That’s going to be cool. I think when the RidgeGate light-rail extension is done, that’ll be cool.

What he’s looking forward to personally in 2019: I pinch myself every day that we’re all where we’re at (economically). I know people like to complain about traffic and overcrowding and not being able to get parking lot spaces at the mall, but it’s just such an extremely flourishing economy that we’re all lucky to have.

There’s predictions of a recession (soon), but everything I’m reading is, it’s not going to be the bursting of a balloon, just a settling of markets, the housing market. I’m happy to be running this chamber and looking forward to a prosperous year.

Brian Ewert, superintendent of Littleton Public Schools

The voters passing a $298 million bond provides an incredible amount of excitement and enthusiasm for the school district, our parents and our kids. We’ll be naming architects for new school construction by Feb. 1. We’ll be taking care of Americans with Disabilities Act issues. We’re planning for the implementation of new furniture, which will drive new sorts of instruction.

I’m always hopeful that we can continue to be better at mental health interventions for kids. Hopefully with a new Legislature and governor, we’ll see efforts to fix some of our constitutional entanglements. Then we could put more money into safety and security, career and tech ed, and full-day kindergarten. I’m always the consummate optimist. Public schools in Colorado have so much potential if we just have adequate funding.

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