Work to resume Wednesday at Saints' ballpark site in Lowertown

  • Article by: KEVIN DUCHSCHERE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: September 17, 2013 - 7:59 PM

A memorial service was held Tuesday at the St. Paul work site for Johnny Valek, killed last week while knocking down a building.

Work will resume Wednesday at the site of the new Saints ballpark in downtown St. Paul, where a demolition worker was killed last week while taking down an old factory.

According to a statement from Ryan Companies regional president Collin Barr, debris and salvaged materials will be cleaned up at the site in the next several days.

However, no additional demolition will be done until Ryan and city officials approve possible modifications in the project’s demolition plan.

Rachel Contracting, the subcontractor in charge of razing the Gillette/Diamond Products building, is reviewing the plan and may submit proposed changes by the end of next week, Barr said.

A private memorial service was held Tuesday morning at the ballpark site for Johnny Valek, 61, of Plymouth, who was killed Sept. 10 when a concrete portion of the building crashed on to the cab of his backhoe. Relatives, friends and co-workers attended the brief service.

Minnesota OSHA’s investigation of Valek’s death could take up to six months.

In his statement, Barr 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, he said.

A registered engineer worked with Rachel to review and approve demolition drawings and plans, which Rachel used to obtain its demolition permit from the city. Ryan Companies and Rachel Contracting have been inspected by the state in recent years without being cited for violating safety standards.

The $63 million ballpark, which will be owned by the city and operated by the Saints, is scheduled to be ready for the team’s home opener in May 2015.

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