Operation ECHO targets Hollander Ridge

September 14, 1994|By Melody Simmons and Peter Hermann | Melody Simmons and Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writers

About 300 police officers, social workers and maintenance workers swept into the city's Hollander Ridge public housing high-rise today on a mission to rid the building of its crime and upkeep woes.

The sweep is the 17th installment of the city Housing Authority's Operation ECHO, or "extraordinary comprehensive housekeeping operation," an aggressive effort that began last June to rid public housing developments of grime and crime.

A low-rise complex of 522 units near the high-rise was not included.

The 19-story Hollander Ridge complex, in the 2000 block of O'Dell Ave., has 46 newly rehabilitated -- empty -- units awaiting residents.

But the complex's poor image and remote location in northeast Baltimore near Pulaski Highway have discouraged tenants from renting those units -- even though the city has a public housing waiting list of 25,000 families, said housing spokesman Zack Germroth.

The ECHO at Hollander Ridge was the largest sweep undertaken by the agency since the program began because of the size of the high-rise, which houses mainly tenants who

are elderly or have disabilities. Hollander Ridge opened in October 1976 with 1,000 units.

City police Capt. William J. Eusini of the Northeastern District said that the ECHO sweep began at 10 a.m. and that one arrest was made. Ten arrests have been made in the past week on outstanding warrants.

Nearly 100 police officers secured the hallways and doorways while a corps of city and state social workers met with tenants. Housing authority maintenance workers scrubbed the hallways and walls and started to repaint the building.

Tenants were notified that the sweep would occur two weeks ago.

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