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Businesses pursue bid to ‘stop’ 2024 Las Vegas Grand Prix

Updated May 6, 2024 - 7:31 pm

A group of Las Vegas business owners who say they’re out $30 million from last year’s Las Vegas Grand Prix launched an online petition earlier this month hoping to gather support to potentially stop the 2024 race from taking place.

The group, headed by six business owners who say they were affected by the temporary bridge built on Flamingo Road over Koval Lane and other road closures tied to the 2023 grand prix, is looking to rally others who want to address the Clark County Commission before it approves the race’s special use permit for this year’s event.

The “Stop the Las Vegas Grand Prix” petition, started May 3, calls on commissioners to deny the special use permit until issues brought on from the 2023 race are settled. It also asks for reimbursement for $30 million that local businesses say they lost due to the 2023 race. The group also wants a remedy to the traffic issues caused by the race’s setup and teardown and for more transparency and community input during the planning of the large-scale event.

‘We matter’

“To date, F1 has not held a public meeting or even sat in a room with all of us together who lost millions in 2023,” Gino Ferraro, owner of Ferraro’s Ristorante, said in a statement. “F1 is selling tickets and moving ahead as if these issues do not exist, as if we do not exist. My family restaurant has been here for 39 years. We matter.”

Las Vegas Grand Prix representatives didn’t respond Monday to a request for comment. A Clark County spokesperson and commission chair Tick Segerblom declined to comment.

The petition on the Change.org website had gathered 256 signatures toward an initial 500 signature goal as of Monday morning. By Monday evening, the total had reached 726, with the signature goal increased to 1,000.

The majority of those signatures came from people in the 89121, 89122 and 89148 ZIP codes, according to the Change.org website.

Petition organizer Lisa Mayo-DeRiso told the Las Vegas Review-Journal there is no set number of people she’s aiming to have sign the petition; but whatever the final result, she hopes it’s enough to garner the county’s attention to set a public meeting specifically focused on the impacts of the race.

Lawsuit considered

“And not just these six business owners, but others and employees,” Mayo-DeRiso said. “I think they deserve to have some sort of voice in what’s happening. … I mean, how many people can make it to a county commission meeting at 9 a.m. on a Tuesday? The Strip workers can’t, most people can’t, so hold an evening meeting, or hold a couple (of meetings) recognizing the different shifts we have.”

The business owners have contemplated filing a lawsuit against Formula One and grand prix officials, but they want to exhaust every other administrative avenue first before doing so, Mayo-DeRiso said.

Multiple business owners who said they were affected financially by the 2023 race have spoken during public comment portions of previous county commission meetings. Randy Markin, owner of Battista’s restaurant and Stage Door Casino, spoke against the race at a March county commission meeting and provided a statement included in the petition’s new release.

“We know many more people were negatively impacted by the F1 race in 2023,” Markin said in a statement. “Uber drivers, casino employees and other business owners up and down the Las Vegas Strip were negatively impacted. We firmly believe that we need public input on this event that proved to be devastating to my business and others.”

‘Traffic disaster’

Alicia Marujo signed the petition, calling the event a “traffic disaster” and noting it took her almost two hours to get to work on the Strip despite living just 8 miles away.

“It was complete chaos with the traffic workers not knowing where to direct traffic,” Marujo said in her explanation on why she signed the petition. “There was no business inside and around the casinos due to the road closures. It was a complete mess.”

Grand prix officials earlier this year said they plan to cut the traffic impacts tied to race setup and tear down this year to three months, compared with nine months last year.

A full repaving operation, the cause of most of the traffic-related issues along the 3.8-mile course in 2023, is not needed again for at least six years, Terry Miller, whose Miller Project Management oversaw the infrastructure work, previously said.

Since the bridge’s removal, Mayo-DeRiso noted that establishment owners have seen business return to better than normal. With plans for the Flamingo bridge to return for this year’s race, she said business owners would not be able to withstand another hit to revenue.

“As you construct that bridge for three months or two months or whatever, all of those numbers are going to go away again,” Mayo-DeRiso said. “We’re going to go back to where we were before and nobody can get there.”

Contact Mick Akers at makers@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2920. Follow @mickakers on X.

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