Hollander Ridge high-rise raided, cleaned, painted

September 15, 1994|By Melody Simmons and Peter Hermann | Melody Simmons and Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writers

In a continuing drive to rid Baltimore's public housing of crime and grime, about 300 police officers, social workers and maintenance workers swept into the Hollander Ridge high-rise yesterday.

As dozens of police officers secured the hallways, a corps of city and state social workers met with the elderly and disabled residents. City Housing Authority employees scrubbed the hallways and began to repaint the 19-story building, while landscapers planted new gardens. And workers erected a guard booth at the development's entrance, so the identities of visitors can be checked.

Housing Authority officials hope the sweep, the 17th and most ambitious installment of a cleanup program, will revive the Northeast Baltimore apartment building, which has been plagued by drugs and prostitution.

Many potential residents are discouraged from living there becauseof the complex's poor image and remote location near Pulaski Highway, said Housing Authority spokesman Zack Germroth.

In fact, 46 newly rehabilitated units are vacant -- even though the city has a public housing waiting list of 25,000 families, he said.

Authority Executive Director Daniel P. Henson III described Hollander Ridge, in the 2000 block of O'Dell Ave., as "the last of the worst properties we had in our inventory."

"The criminals think these people are easy marks," he added.

During the sweep, which began at 10 a.m., one arrest was made for violation of probation, said Housing Authority police Chief Hezekiah Bunch. Ten arrests have been made in the past week on outstanding warrants, ranging from violent crimes to failure to pay child support.

The sweep of the 478-unit high rise cost taxpayers $200,000 and was the largest such undertaking to date.

Residents applauded the sweep. "It had to be done sooner or later," said 71-year-old tenant John Howard Jr.

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