The City of Centennial is a Home Rule Municipality located in Arapahoe County, Colorado, United States. Centennial is a part of the Denver–Aurora–Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical Area. The city population was 100,377 at the 2010 United States Census. Centennial is a part of the Denver metropolitan area. Centennial is the tenth most populous municipality in the state of Colorado and its 2001 city incorporation was the largest in U.S. history. Centennial is ranked as the 15th-safest city in the country.


The City of Centennial was formed on February 7, 2001, from portions of unincorporated Arapahoe County, including the former Castlewood and Southglenn census-designated places (CDPs). The citizens of the area had voted to incorporate on September 12, 2000, choosing Centennial as the official name during the vote. The name reflects Colorado's admission to the Union as the 38th state in 1876, the centennial year of the United States Declaration of Independence. The state of Colorado is nicknamed the "Centennial State". Incorporation was approved by 77% of the voters, and the population of the area at over 100,000 made it the largest incorporation in U.S. history as of its creation. The city was incorporated in large part to prevent further annexations of unincorporated areas by the city of Greenwood Village in an attempt to improve its tax base. The taxes generated from businesses in unincorporated portions of Arapahoe County funded the majority of the county's services, including road work. A number of court cases eventually established the right of incorporation to take precedence over the right of annexation. The city was incorporated on a promise to keep city taxes at 1%. (One of the campaigns against incorporation appealed to voters to maintain the 3.8% sales tax of the unincorporated county.) According to the City of Centennial website, the current sales tax rate is two-and-a-half times the promised rate, at 2.5%. Since the city is relatively new, some people in the Denver-Aurora metropolitan area do not yet recognize the area by the name "Centennial", especially since neighboring Aurora, Englewood and Littleton are the default place names assigned by the United States Postal Service for ZIP codes serving Centennial. Thus, mailing addresses designated as "Aurora", "Englewood" or "Littleton" may actually be located in Centennial. This causes considerable confusion, as Centennial and Englewood do not even share a boundary, while some portions of Centennial are surrounded by Aurora and vice versa. In 2008, Centennial voters approved a referendum by approximately a 2-to-1 margin making Centennial a home rule city. Centennial Airport, formerly Arapahoe County Airport, lies adjacent to Centennial, but is located in unincorporated Arapahoe County. The airport is not named after the city, as it predates the city by over 30 years.


Centennial covers 27.9 square miles (72 km2). Centennial is roughly divided in half by Interstate 25, with most of its business and entertainment centers lying west of the highway. The city's boundaries are highly irregular and evocative of a gerrymander, particularly the overwhelmingly residential eastern portions of the city, which appear with Foxfield, portions of Aurora, and unincorporated areas as a distorted checkerboard on the city's map. Centennial has many hills, gullies and ravines, and its open spaces are usually accompanied by recreational trails and parks, including Dry Creek Dam, DeKoevend Park, the High line Canal Trail, Willow Creek Trail, as well as Big Dry Creek and Little Dry Creek Trails. Centennial hosts most native wildlife and is a good reflection of Colorado's front range ecosystem. Centennial has seen a boost in coyote populations in recent years, leading to resident education on how to deter coyotes from eating family pets. Centennial is located at 39°35'47" North, 104°50'38" West (39.5963, −104.8439).


National CineMedia and United Launch Alliance are among the companies based in Centennial. Blackjack Pizza was headquartered in Centennial.

Top employers

According to Centennial's 2017 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, the top employers in the city are:


The population of Centennial is 100,377 according to the 2010 Census, and there are 36,200 households within the city. The city is approximately composed of 87.4% White, 4.8% Hispanic or Latino, 3.6% Asian, 2.4% African American, 0.4% Native American, and 0.3% from other races. The median age is 37.2 years, in comparison to the 35.3-year national average. For every 100 females, there are 98 males.


Most of Centennial is within the territory of the Cherry Creek Public Schools while the western portion of the city in the territory of Littleton Public Schools. Centennial is also served by a few private schools. Public High Schools *Arapahoe High School *Littleton High School (located outside the city in neighboring Littleton) *Heritage High School (located outside the city in Littleton) *Eaglecrest High School (located outside the city in unincorporated Arapahoe County) *Cherry Creek High School (located outside the city in neighboring Greenwood Village) *Cherokee Trail High School (located outside the city in neighboring Aurora) *Smoky Hill High School (located outside the city in neighboring Aurora) *Grandview High School (located outside the city in neighboring Aurora) Public Middle Schools *Campus Middle School (located outside the city in neighboring Greenwood Village) * Cherry Creek Academy Charter (Elementary and Middle—6–8) *Euclid Middle School *Isaac Newton Middle School *Laredo Middle School (located outside the city in neighboring Aurora) *John Wesley Powell Middle School *West Middle School (located outside the city) *Horizon Middle School (located outside the city in neighboring Aurora) Public Elementary Schools – West Centennial *Ames Elementary School (closed at the end of 2008/2009 school year) *Franklin Elementary School *Highland Elementary School *Highlands Baptist Academy *Hopkins Elementary School *Lenski Elementary School *Peabody Elementary School *Sandburg Elementary School *Twain Elementary School *Dry Creek Elementary School *Heritage Elementary School *Homestead Elementary School *Walnut Hills Community Elementary School *Willow Creek Elementary School *Greenwood Elementary School (located outside the city) Public Elementary Schools – East Centennial * Cherry Creek Academy Charter (K–8) *Creekside Elementary School *Peakview Elementary School *Timberline Elementary School *Indian Ridge Elementary School *Trails West Elementary School *Buffalo Trail Elementary School (located outside the city in neighboring Aurora) Private Elementary and Middle Schools *St. Thomas More Parish School *Highlands Baptist Academy *Shepherd of the Hills Christian School *Centennial Christian Academy *C.A.R.E. Middle School Seminary *Gateway Seminary


The city is governed under the council-manager form of government which limits the power of the city to levy and collect taxes. The city council has eight members. The Mayor and Council Members are all part-time officials who hold other full-time jobs.

Points of interest

*International Headquarters for Gamma Phi Beta sorority are located in Centennial. Gamma Phi Beta was the first women's organization to use the term "sorority". *Centennial was chosen in 2008 as the site of the first IKEA store in Colorado. The IKEA Centennial location opened on July 27, 2011. It is the second-largest IKEA store in the United States. IKEA Centennial was awarded the Project of the Year in 2011 by the City of Centennial.

Notable people

Notable individuals who were born in or have lived in Centennial include: * Sean Tufts (1982–), football, linebacker for the Carolina Panthers * Amy Barczuk (1990–), soccer defender, midfielder * Madisen Beaty (1995–), actress * Melissa Benoist (1988–), actress * Kevin Gausman (1991–), baseball pitcher * Kenny McKinley (1987–2010), football wide receiver * George Ratterman (1926–2007), football quarterback * Spencer Swalm (1951–), Colorado state legislator * Jack Tate (1963–), Colorado state legislator * Ken Tribbett (1991–), soccer defender, midfielder * Tom Costello (1963–), NBC News Washington-based correspondent https://www.nbcnews.com/video/student-shooting-suspect-was-targeting-teacher-officials-say-90246211732

Surrounding municipalities

See also

*Outline of Colorado **Index of Colorado-related articles *State of Colorado **Colorado cities and towns ***Colorado municipalities **Colorado counties ***Arapahoe County, Colorado **Colorado metropolitan areas ***Front Range Urban Corridor ***North Central Colorado Urban Area ***Denver–Aurora combined statistical area ***Denver metropolitan area


External links

City of Centennial website
CDOT map of the City of Centennial
{{authority control Category:Cities in Arapahoe County, Colorado Category:Cities in Colorado Category:Denver metropolitan area Category:Populated places established in 2001 Category:2001 establishments in Colorado