The City of Centennial is a Home Rule Municipality located in Arapahoe County, Colorado, United States. The city population was 100,377 at the 2010 United States Census. Centennial is a part of the Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, CO Metropolitan Statistical 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.
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 a 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 Highline Canal Trail, Willow Creek Trail, as well as Big Dry Creek and Little Dry Creek Trails.
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