Federal Reserve Bank Complex Renovated / Includes Vistors' Center

Article excerpt

KANSAS CITY - I was appointed chairman of the Federal Reserve while in Kansas City recently.

For the 48 month term, the economy was in my hands. It was my responsibility to increase and decrease reserves to keep the economy in balance. Look out.

As "my term" began, the unemployment rate inched up into the red zone and inflation decreased.

I decreased the reserves, but went too far and unemployment increased rapidly as I unintentionally held the economy down and restricted the money flow.

But interest rates, inflation and the gross national product remained fairly low. The ultimate idea is to balance the amount of money allowed to flow into the system, but being inexperienced and politically inclined, I began pumping the button to increase reserves in the final five months of my term for a positive effect.

Growth increased, unemployment initally began to slide, but because of the lag between the action and the result, there is not enough time within the first term for the interest rates to increase. Neither was there enough time to see a change in inflation and the GNP. Both remained low until the end of the term.

The President reappointed me to a second 48 month term.

The Monetary Policy game is part of the new permanent exhibit of the Vistor Center at the renovated Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City. Paul Volcker, the real chairman of the Fed, reportedly played the computer game and lost the first time.

After several years of planning, a portion of the building which houses Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City has been restored and renovated for public use as a Visitor's Center.

The first floor and mezzanine of the 20-story structure are now easily accessible to visitors and the addition of a fine arts gallery, auditorium and a permanent educational exhibit represent the bank's long-term commitment to public service.

An objective of the bank was to also enhance the downtown environment, which is met by the creation of the gallery. The gallery is one way the bank, as a quasi-public institution, can contribute tothe arts.

About 5,000 vistors, primarily students and teachers, tour the Bank each year. The new facility will allow the Bank to host more visitors and to provide expanded educational programs through the exhibits and other audio/visual media.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City is the head office for the 10th Federal Reserve District with branches in Oklahoma City, Omaha, and Denver.

The Federal Reserve Bank Building for the 10th District was constructed at 925 Grand Ave. in Kansas City in 1921. It is said that at the time, because of an uncertainty of the success of the federal reserve system, the building was designed to resemble a commercial bank. If the Federal Reserve failed, the building would be sold to a bank and the lobby could be easily converted.

Before 1921, the Reserve Bank was housed in as many as five different buildings at once throughout the downtown area. The building was constructed in 23 months from 325 tons of marble, 2,088 tons of cut stone and 5,615 tons of brick.

In 1947 the lobby was renovated into a showplace. The color scheme was changed from a total look of white paint to dark marble and paint with gold leaf accents applied to the ceiling panels.

Roger Guffy, president, began planning a restoration and renovation to turn part of the bank into a facility for the public as early as 1979.

Construction began on the $2.1 million project in the fall of 1984 and was completed one year later. In the renovation, the color scheme was lightened with a rosy, peachy colored marble on the walls and pillars, highlighted by muted shades of blue, green and gray. The width of the mezzanine was increased at both the north and south ends. The gold leaf ornamentation added to the ceiling panels in 1947 has been restored.

The old marble used in the building was re-used to build a staircase to the second floor. …