For Victor DaSilva, it wasn’t a question of whether he and brother Manny Ferreira would rebuild the Portuguese restaurant their family started in 1976 but where.
After a fire destroyed Sagres Restaurant in 2013, the DaSilvas rebuilt and reopened last June in the same neighborhood they grew up in — although some people tried to persuade DaSilva to do otherwise.
“Most people said we should get out, but we believe in the future of and staying in Fall River,’’ DaSilva says. “The business was not just for us; it was for Fall River and for the Portuguese community, especially in this neighborhood.’’
It’s where he first came as a 12-year-old and learned English, playing with the children of other Portuguese immigrants. Several skipped college to work in what was then a thriving manufacturing industry. DaSilva, however, pursued a degree in political science and international relations, but decided to stay in the area because his father needed help with the restaurant.
As for his own family, wife Michelle teaches math at Diman Regional Vocational Technical High School in Fall River; his son is in high school; and his daughter is studying at the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.
DaSilva doesn’t have the prescription for how to lower the region’s unemployment rate but suggests that capitalizing on Fall River’s natural resources would boost tourism.
“You have the ocean. You have a huge river [and] bike riding. You can walk. There’s lots of outdoor activities,’’ he says. “And the Narrows Center [for the Arts] brings in a lot of bands and people into the city, which is great.’’
Even Fall River’s most famous resident — Lizzie Borden — continues to bring in business so many decades after her death.
“It’s probably the most popular thing in Fall River,’’ DaSilva says. “I think anything that can help tourism in the city is a positive.’’
Lizzie Borden’s age when she died after living a life of ostracism following her 1893 acquittal in the murders of her father and stepmother (contrary to the famous rhyme, her father was hit with a hatchet, not an ax, 10 or 11 times, and her stepmother received 19 blows)
Unemployment rate in Fall River, compared with the Massachusetts average of 4.5 percent, according to September figures from the state Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development
Number of acres of Copicut Woods, a bioreserve featuring 5.4 miles of trails
The city has decreased its solid-waste tonnage by 36.5 percent since implementing a pay-as-you-throw program in August 2014.
Residents must buy sanctioned purple trash bags for $6 (for eightmini ones) or $10 (for eight small or five large ones) in addition to a $10 monthly sanitation fee approved this year.
Carley D. Thornell can be reached at [email protected]