Demolition to resume at the site of the new Saints ballpark

  • Updated: September 25, 2013 - 7:52 PM

Work to remove the building at the site of the new stadium was halted after the Sept. 10 death of demolition worker Johnny Valek.

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On Sept. 18, an excavator loaded pieces of the old building into a truck at the demolition site where the new St. Paul Saints ballpark will be in St Paul.

Photo: Kyndell Harkness, Star Tribune

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Ryan Companies announced Wednesday that a review of the demolition plan for the Gillette building is complete and demolition will resume at the site of the new Saints ballpark.

Demolition was halted Sept. 10 after falling concrete killed Johnny Valek, 61, a worker with Rachel Contracting, the subcontractor working for Ryan Companies to demolish the Gillette/Diamond Products building at the Lowertown site. A review of the demolition plan was conducted.

The findings conclude that “the current approach is the best way to demolish the remaining structure,” according to a statement from Collin Barr, president NorthCentral Region, Ryan Companies.

After the accident, Ryan’s demolition plan needed to be reapproved by the city, said Joe Campbell, spokesman for Mayor Chris Coleman. On Friday, the part of the demolition plan that covered the portion of the building that had already been demolished was approved. On Wednesday, approval was given for the part of the demolition plan that involved the existing structure.

Building demolition can start as soon as Thursday morning.

Ryan has said that demolition delays won’t affect the ballpark’s construction schedule. Other work, such as bidding for excavation and utility work and the schematic design, is continuing.

Ryan Companies and Rachel Contracting have been inspected by the state in recent years without being cited for violating safety standards. Meanwhile, Minnesota OSHA’s investigation of Valek’s death could take up to six months.

The $63 million ballpark is scheduled to be ready for the team’s home opener in May 2015.

Staff Report

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