Centennial is the newest city in the state of Colorado. It gets its name from Colorado's nickname, the "Centennial State", for its being admitted into the union in 1876. Centennial was incorporated from portions of unincorporated Arapahoe County in 2001. The city was incorporated to prevent the City of Greenwood Village from annexing certain portions of Arapahoe County to improve its tax base. The money generated from those businesses in the unincorporated portion of Arapahoe County were mostly what funded the majority of the county's services, including road work.
Centennial real estate is adjacent to the cities and towns of Aurora, Englewood, Foxfield, Greenwood Village, Highlands Ranch (unincorporated Douglas County), Littleton, Lonetree, and Parker. Population-wise, it is the fourth largest city in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan Area. As the city is new, many people even in the area do not recognize it by the name Centennial, often referring to the area with the names of neighboring cities, notably Littleton and Aurora.
Centennial was created on a promise to keep city taxes at 1% (one of the campaigns against incorporation appealed to maintain the unincorporated 3.8% sales tax). The city is governed in what is known mayor–council style, which limits the city's tax levying and collection powers. The city council is comprised of eight members. The Mayor and all Council Members are part–time officials and hold other full time jobs.
Centennial Airport, formerly Arapahoe County Airport, lies adjacent to, but outside of, the city limits; it is not named after the city, as it predates it by over 30 years.
The variety of homes within the Centennial real estate area ranges from new townhome developments—starting in the mid $100k range—to custom built homes from $700k and up. Many Centennial homes were built within the last five years.