Mayor Stephanie Piko hosts 16th Annual State of the City of Centennial

BY FREDA MIKLIN
GOVERNMENT REPORTER

On May 12, the 16th Annual State of the City of Centennial was held at Wings over the Rockies Exploration of flight at Centennial Airport. The event, which drew 350 people, was hosted by the Rotary Club of Centennial. The theme of the event was Launching Forward, chosen because it “acknowledges that the challenges and adversity we face when taken from a position of strength, allows that pent-up energy to build momentum and forge ahead.” Despite the many challenges presented by the pandemic, Mayor Piko told the crowd, “We were in a position of strength-strength in our finances, our planning and our goals – combined with the strength in our community, our partners and our businesses – made certain we did not stop.”

Speaking to the challenge of connecting “110,000 citizens—in roughly 86 neighborhoods, spread across 23 square miles,” she pointed out, “We have initiated a community grant program which recognizes and supports neighborhood efforts to make neighborhood improvements. These efforts are designed and implemented by the neighborhoods themselves. Any group of neighbors can apply to do projects or activities from neighborhood events to beautification efforts.” Mayor Piko also talked about the challenges presented by rising home values for young families and young professionals. She pointed to the currently ongoing housing study for which the city received a grant and is “examining potential housing and development options that can hopefully lower costs and increase opportunities for attainable housing in our community.” Acknowledging the challenge brought on by homelessness that is being faced by all cities in the metro area, she added, “Centennial is also participating in regional initiatives to address homelessness like Built for Zero focusing on veterans and the Arapahoe County Committee on Impacting Homelessness.”

An important development and Centennial’s largest, currently under construction, is The District, adjacent to I-25. The mayor said, “Connecting with our Dry Creek Light Rail Station, The District will be Centennial’s first Transit Oriented Development, a mixed-use development offering diverse housing opportunities and unique retail/office opportunities that will create a completely new experience in Centennial.”

One example Mayor Piko pointed to of the city working with business to enhance Centennial’s economic vitality is the redevelopment of the Macy’s and Sears locations at the Streets at SouthGlenn with new multi-family housing, which, she said, “will provide opportunities to explore retail that meets the needs of residents.”

In the area of public safety, Mayor Piko said, “Centennial has continued to be ranked one of the safest cities in Colorado with a population over 100,000 citizens. We have a tremendous partnership with the men and women of the Arapahoe County Sheriff’s office (which has) developed a mental health co-responder program (that) pairs licensed mental health clinicians or co-responders with deputies on calls for service that involve people experiencing a behavioral health crisis or emotionally charged situations.”

On transportation and mobility, she said, “Since the completion of our fiber network in 2019, we have continued to modernize our traffic signals with “Smart” technology and this year added a manned Traffic Operations Center, allowing us the opportunity to provide adaptive, real-time signaling throughout most of our corridors.”

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