Construction resumes at Saints ballpark following death of worker at site

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Construction on the new St. Paul Saints ballpark resumes Wednesday, a week after a heavy equipment operator died in a demolition accident at the park's Lowertown location, the Pioneer Press reports.

Johnny Valek, 61, was killed when a section of concrete from the former Diamond Products/Gillette building collapsed on the back of the cab of the backhoe he was operating.

Valek was remembered at a brief memorial service at the site by relatives and co-workers.

Meanwhile, a permanent memorial is also in the works to honor Valek's memory at the ballpark.

"Details will be revealed as design progresses," Ryan Cos. said in a statement.

While construction resumes, no additional demolition will be done at the site until city officials approve modifications in the demolition plan, which is expected by the end of the week.

The Star Tribune reports that an investigation by the Minnesota Occupational Safety and Health Administration into Valek’s death could take up to six months.

Ryan executives said in a statement that the delays in demolition will not affect the overall completion of the job.

The Saints' new $63 million, 7,000-seat ballpark is scheduled to be ready for the team’s home opener in May 2015.

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