Wichita — Artifacts held as security for a city loan have been released to the control of the Mid-America All-Indian Center's board, after the full repayment of the $175,000 loan.
"They own all of the collection free and clear," said John D'Angelo, Wichita's director of the division of arts and cultural services.
An anonymous donor's gift of $100,000 helped the center pay off the note late last month. The City Council approved the loan in March 2005.
Center officials said most of the money - about $135,000 - went to pay old bills as part of a reorganization that began in late 2004.
The city closed the center from December 2004 to April 2005 and has been overseeing changes since it reopened.
"We're up to date on the stabilization plan," said Newman Washington, chairman of the center's board of trustees.
The center includes meeting and performance spaces, in addition to a museum dedicated to Plains Indians' history and culture.
It also offers public Community Nights featuring American Indian drumming, singing and dancing.
Gift shop purchases and facility rentals have given the center a stable cash flow, officials said.
This year's budget of $177,500 estimates expenses of $117,420.
That does not include the city's annual contribution of about $58,000 for utilities.
Next month, the center plans to hold a blessing ceremony to mark the return of the Keeper of the Plains statue to its base where the Arkansas and Little Arkansas rivers meet.
The center is also working on plans for a market specializing in American Indian goods, which could open in April, and to develop community education programs.