Dealership forced to scrap million dollar cars due to flood damage

The flooding continues to impact businesses and attractions on the North Shore.

The Chicago Botanic Garden plans to re-open Saturday for the first time since the rains hit, and a Highland Park car dealership is being forced to trash scores of brand new cars worth millions of dollars.

"I think there's about 80 new cars, about 50 used cars, 20 customer cars, some lease returns. I think there were ten of our loaners. Probably four or five million dollars,” said Marty Price, co-owner of Highland Park Ford Lincoln.

If the water was as high as the floorboard the dealership says it's likely it got into the engine.

On Friday, insurance adjustors from Ford took inventory of the damage. The cars will either be cubed or given to community colleges and technical schools for training - the automotive equivalent of cadaver bodies.

"It was devastating. It really was. I never saw anything like it in my entire life,” Price said. "The new cars, they get scrapped. We would never even think of selling a flood car. What happens is later on the turn signals don't work, the lights. Because it rusts where all the connectors are."

Just down the road in Highland Park, the popular Chicago Botanic Garden remains closed as well.

An estimated 100-million gallons of rainwater poured into the garden, raising the level of the ponds by more than five feet. That means many of the gardens two and a half million plants and trees are now underwater, but you needn't worry.

"A half million of those are along shorelines here that are completely underwater. And those native plants were specifically chosen for being able to withstand being underwater for about a week,” said Bob Kirchner of the Garden.

The Botanic Garden, which sees as many as ten thousand visitors a day, will re-open Saturday, but only for limited hours between noon and five.

Engineers will be pumping about eight inches of water per day out of the ponds and into the Skokie River, which means the garden should be back to normal in about a week.

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