ATCHISON, Kan. - For decades, Amelia Earhart's birthplace has been Atchison, Kan.'s most famous attraction. But that's quickly changing and in a way no one saw coming.
Construction will start in a couple of months on the Vivos Survival Shelter and Resort.
California businessman Robert Vicino is spending $25 million to renovate 2 million square-feet of underground space in an old military storage cave south of Atchison.
For the first time, Vicino gave 41 Action News a personal tour of the cave.
"Effectively, we're building an underground city for 5,000 people," Vicino said, "We have a number of threats that could happen at any moment."
In the event of an impending nuclear war or an asteroid headed for Earth, shelter members can just drive their RVs to Atchison. They'll pay $1,000 per lineal-foot of their RV, plus a $1,500 yearly fee per person to live for a year or more inside the limestone-encased cave.
"This is going to be a year-round Disneyland Boy Scout resort for those out there that are into preparedness," Vicino said.
With amenities like theaters, archery fields and music halls, Vicino expects Vivos to draw up to 500 shelter members to Atchison every weekend.
"And I hope he's right," Atchison Chamber of Commerce president Jacque Pregont said, "We would love to have people coming to town every weekend. It would be a tremendous boom for our economy."
With Amelia Earhart's birthplace and haunted attractions, Pregont said the Vivos resort will be one more reason to visit Atchison.
"If it means jobs, if it means people coming here every weekend, if it means tourism, I haven't seen a negative yet," Pregont said.
Vicino said more than 100 people have already signed up for a spot in the shelter. Construction of phase one could begin in a couple months and be finished by as early as November.
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