The City of Centennial was on a real high last week, with the announcement that it had just ranked fourth on 247WallSt.com’s “America’s 50 Best Cities to Live In,” up from a still-respectable 26 last year, according to USA Today . In listing the top cities, the site noted that Centennial is one of the safest places in Colorado.
Perhaps that’s because everyone there is too high on pot and the Bible to do anything naughty. The day before Centennial started touting its number four ranking, the city made a big hit in New York magazine’s “The Bong Next Door: Ambling through America’s most stoned suburbs.” That lengthy piece led off with a meeting of the Stoner Jesus Bible Study in Centennial, which the magazine reports is “suburbia personified,” with some of the state’s best schools, one of America’s largest Ikeas and, perhaps not coincidentally, the regional headquarters of the Drug Enforcement Administration.
The Bible group was created by forty-something mother of two Deb Button, who posted an ad for the stoner study on Craigslist; one woman showed up for the first meeting last fall and found Button “so baked out of her head she forgot that she’d invited me over,” she told the magazine. But the group ultimately got it together, and today Centennial residents aren’t just reading the Bible stoned; they’re playing poker stoned, playing lacrosse stoned, gardening stoned, doing the laundry stoned, watching the Broncos stoned, having sex stoned.
What they aren’t doing is worrying about their kids consuming cannabis; as one Centennial high-school teacher told New York, now that their parents can legally get high, “kids think marijuana’s for old people.”
While New York’s story is definitely entertaining — and edifying — reading, Centennial officials have yet to hype the article, though they wasted no time announcing the “Best Cities” ranking, adding the honor to the city's website and including it in the city's newsletter. "It's something our residents should be proud of and know about," says spokeswoman Allison Wittern. "We are the best place to live in Colorado."
And if some of the city's 100,000-plus residents are enjoying Centennial from a higher place? They're not buying their marijuana in Centennial, since retail sales are not allowed there, points out Wittern, who definitely read the New York story and appreciated the timing, but decided not to include it in the press release touting the "best place" designation.
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“We are very pleased to see our City be recognized once again as a best place to live,” said Centennial mayor Cathy Noon in that release. “Naturally, those of us that live here think it’s a great place with high-performing schools, low crime, award-winning parks and trails.”
Arvada, Longmont and Fort Collins all made the top-fifty list, although none placed close to Centennial. For the record, here’s 247 WallSt.’s assessment:
“Higher educational attainment usually leads to higher incomes, and while only about 30% of American adults have a bachelor’s degree, more than half of all adults living in Centennial have a bachelor’s degree. The typical household in Centennial earns more than $91,000 annually, about $30,000 more than the typical Colorado household. The city also has a low poverty rate. Only 4.8% of Centennial residents live below the poverty line compared to a poverty rate of 12.0% in Colorado and a national rate of 15.5%. Centennial high schools also yield better results than high schools across the state. Standardized test scores are about 6% higher in the area than they are across Colorado. Growing slightly faster than the U.S. population, Centennial expanded by 6.6% over the five years through 2014 to its current level of roughly 107,000 residents.”
A good percentage of them apparently high.