Memorial Held for Worker Killed at Lowertown Ballpark Site, Work to Resume

Posted at: 09/17/2013 12:05 PM
Updated at: 09/17/2013 12:16 PM
By: Maricella Miranda

The community gathered Tuesday morning at the Lowertown Ballpark site in St. Paul for a brief memorial service for Johnny Valek, a worker killed last week during a partial building collapse.

Work at the site is scheduled to resume Wednesday, Sept. 17, according to Collin Barr, president of the NorthCentral Region of Ryan Companies, which is leading the ballpark's construction. During the next several days, work will involve removal of debris and salvaged materials from the site.

Rachel Contracting, which Valek was employed by, is reviewing the demolition plan to determine if any modifications should be made, Barr reported. Any modifications of the plan will be submitted to Ryan and the city of St. Paul for approval, likely before the end of the week.

Demolition delays at this stage will not impact the ballpark's timeline, Barr reported. Work on other critical components of the project, such as mechanical, electrical and excavation work, has continued during the pause of the demolition to ensure the ballpark stays on schedule.

Valek, 61, of Plymouth, was killed Sept. 10 during the demolition of the former Gillette building at the site, which is in the area of East Fifth Street and Broadway, according to police.

Emergency crews said it was too late to help when they arrived. Valek was a heavy equipment operator for Rachel Contracting, a subcontractor of Ryan Companies.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the case. Ryan is cooperating fully with the investigation, Barr stated following the incident.