The Las Vegas Grand Prix has appointed Betsy Fretwell as its new chief operating officer. Fretwell, who previously served as the Las Vegas city manager for eight years, brings extensive executive experience in both public and private sectors. Renee Wilm, CEO of the Las Vegas Grand Prix, expressed excitement about Fretwell joining the team, stating that she will be an immediate asset to the organization.
During her tenure as city manager from 2009 to 2017, Fretwell managed 3,300 employees and a $1.3B annual budget. Her new role at the Las Vegas Grand Prix will involve overseeing community relations, as the race has faced criticism from Las Vegas businesses, residents, and tourists. The race’s impact on the community has been a point of contention, with road closures and construction delays causing financial losses for small businesses and inconveniences for casino workers and tourists. While some casino corporations reported record-breaking revenues during the inaugural race, local businesses like Ferraro’s Ristorante on Paradise Road suffered significant losses.
Gino Ferraro, the owner of Ferraro’s Ristorante, wrote a letter to the Clark County Commissioners expressing concerns about the race’s negative effects on local businesses and the community. He estimated that the race cost him $2.5M in revenues and $500K in profits. Ferraro also highlighted the impact on tourism, with many visitors expressing reluctance to return to Vegas during the race weekend. He questioned the return on investment and the lack of compensation for affected businesses, workers, and tourists.
Ferraro called for a reevaluation of the race’s impact on the city and the need to consider alternative strategies to accommodate visitors without disrupting the community. These concerns have prompted calls for a reexamination of the race’s impact and the need for greater consideration of the community’s welfare.