Decades of Community-Building at Stake as San Jose’s Cultural Districts Fight to Survive

May 20, 2020 144

BY: Jennifer Wadsworth

Like her forebears who arrived in the Santa Clara Valley generations earlier, Theresa Sabatino came looking for a fresh start. The clinical psychologist and San Jose native ran an Italian language school in Las Vegas until the 2009 recession slashed attendance by 90 percent.

After hearing about plans to turn a decaying pocket of downtown between Highway 87 and the Guadalupe River into an Italian district, Sabatino decided to come home. “I had to reinvent myself,” she says, “and the fact that this was getting off the ground at the same time gave me a chance to do that.”

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