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Friend lobbies for Val's halla Way

Honorary street would be Oak Park's second

August 7th, 2018 3:16 PM

Signs of Val: Oak Parker Bill McClung is pushing to have a memorial sign created in memory of the late Val Camilletti. The only other memorial sign in Oak Park honors Dominick Meo, who was instrumental in getting Mills Park Tower built. | Photo illustration

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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

In the streets of Chicago you'll find hundreds of honorary signs commemorating the lives of notable — and some not-so-notable — Chicagoans, but in Oak Park you'll only find one: Dominic Meo Memorial Way at the corner of Pleasant Place and South Marion Street.

The sign honoring the celebrated Oak Parker was installed in 1993 in remembrance of the man who led the Community Chest for years and was instrumental in getting Mills Park Tower, an subsidized-housing high-rise built.

Oak Park is now poised to get its second memorial street sign with the death of beloved music purveyor Val Camilletti, 78, who owned and operated Val's halla Records at 239 Harrison St. 

Bill McClung, former owner of the K9 Cookie Company, a boutique for dogs at 171 S. Oak Park Ave., which closed in 2012, became friends with Camilletti when her record store was located at 723½ South Blvd. 

McClung said he contacted the Oak Park Board of Trustees following Camilletti's death on July 24.

His only response was from Trustee Deno Andrews, who is now pushing to have the honorary street sign put in place.

McClung recalled his time getting to know Camilletti as fellow business owners and volunteers with the Oak Park Animal Care League. He said the outpouring of love for Camilletti throughout the village over the last few weeks gave him the idea for the street sign.

"I thought we could do something more for her to be more complimentary to her," he said. 

McClung suggested the honorary sign be placed near her old shop at the corner of South Boulevard and South Oak Park Avenue, but Andrews said the sign might make more sense at her current location in the Oak Park Arts District at 239 Harrison St.

David Powers, a spokesman for the village of Oak Park, said in an email that there is no formal process in place for designating honorary streets, "so village board action would be required to do so."

Andrews said in a telephone interview that he has put in an official request to have the issue brought up by the board of trustees.

"I think it will be cool," he said. "Hopefully, there will be support from my colleagues."

CONTACT: tim@oakpark.com