WHITTIER — Rumors that the new Whittwood Town Center will include a park have left some Whittier residents disappointed to find out that no such grassy area will end up in the center’s final plan. The lack of green open space surprised some residents, like Maria Lopez who envisioned a vast green oasis in the middle of the complex. “I swear they said they were putting a park in here,” Lopez said. “My neighbor went to the community meeting when they first were talking about it and she told me there would be a park. I was happy about having a nice place to take my grandkids to play and shop. But now I think it’s going to be all cement.” Not all residents are fazed by the dearth of green, however. A small amphitheater for community events will include an arts and public space at the top of the seating area, but it will be made of cement. Apart from some holdups due to heavy rains last winter, construction has proceeded on schedule, McKenrick said. Jeff Collier, director of community development for the city of Whittier, said that although builders faced few problems, remodeling an existing site can often be problematic. “There are more challenges involved when you are keeping a site open for business while undergoing major construction. Just keeping people safe in a construction zone poses unusual challenges,” Collier said. Collier also debunked the rumors of a park. The mixed-use aspect of the project will include 114 condominiums, scheduled to go on sale by August starting in the $450,000 to $550,000 range, McKenrick said, but those prices are likely to change. Whittier resident Brad Ramirez had also heard the rumor of a park, but news that no grass would be forthcoming did not seem to faze him. “It would have been nice, but I don’t really go to parks that much,” said Ramirez, who works two jobs. “I’m always working. This is one of my few afternoons off.” Pam Wight can be reached at (562) 698-0955, Ext. 3029, or by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Despite forecasts of traffic nightmares, loitering and depressed property values by residents who live by the center, Whittier resident Rhonda Taylor is just thrilled she doesn’t have to drive to Brea to shop at her favorite stores. “I don’t really care if there’s a park,” said Taylor, who also happens to be an accountant for Perkowitz and Ruth Architects, the company that designed the new center. “I just want to shop. I’ve lived here all my life and I can tell you, the old mall was awful. It was so dirty and rundown that I didn’t even shop there. This one is so fresh.” Anne McKenrick, marketing director for the Whittwood Town Center, said a grassy area was never in the plans. “I think they originally planned on some grass next to the Sears,” McKenrick said. “But it’s their property and it’s up to them to decide. There were never any plans for a grassy park, but we do have more greenery than any other shopping area with lots of trees and plants.” The Town Center, which has been opened with only a few stores during the construction process, is set to open officially sometime in the spring. Meanwhile, several new chain stores will open by the end of November, beginning with Target’s grand opening (which began Sunday), said McKenrick. All of the shops will be finished by Christmas, with only the food court to be constructed. A few spaces are still available for lease.