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Kenwood--an anchor to bank on

AT A GLANCE...
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When Renee Ferguson moved to Chicago in 1977 to be a broadcast journalist for WBBM-TV, her friends told her to live in Lincoln Park, "but as soon as I knew the city," she says, "I moved to Kenwood."

Several years--and awards--later, she joined CBS Network News as a correspondent in New York and Atlanta. Returning to Chicago in 1987, she moved straight back to Kenwood. "It's a stable community with a strong neighborhood feeling, almost a village concept," she says. "Plus it's diverse in every way-culturally, racially, economically-and it's 15 minutes from the Loop, a few blocks from the lake, and anchored by one of the world's greatest educational institutions. What more could you want?"

image: Renee Ferguson

The key to thriving in Kenwood, according to Ferguson, has been her campaign to "take ownership" of her neighbors. "They are in my house and I am in theirs," she says. "We have their keys and they have ours. Their children are our children. I watched them grow up, hired them as baby-sitters, saw them go off to college, and they do the same for me. When the neighbors see me get home they holler, 'Come on over. We made gumbo.'" She credits the University as the bedrock of the neighborhood's vitality and cohesion. "Many things can anchor a community," says Ferguson, "a business, or a factory, even a strip mall, but it's nice to have as an anchor an institution where people think. I meet the most interesting folks in the grocery store; they're experts on everything." --J.E.

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