Some of the most levelheaded — and dare we say empathetic — commentary on the plight of Turner Field comes from AJC columnist Kyle Wingfield, whose opinions typically scream Cobb County conservatism. Wingfield takes to task Mayor Reed's optimism that The Ted and surrounding areas will spring forth into a middle-class utopia after the big-leaguers flee Atlanta. But Wingfield relies less on antagonism than realism. He points out that, on the bright side, Turner Field is close to interstates, state government buildings, venerable Grant Park and Zoo Atlanta. But it's not close to key catalysts for positive development, including "the Atlanta Beltline, which represents the city's ultimate vision for its development over the next few decades, as well as the downtown streetcar being built between the King center and Centennial Olympic Park," he writes. The Beltline is at least a mile away from The Ted at its closest point.
One of Turner Field's chief obstacles, in Wingfield's view, is that it sits far afield from the direction Atlanta's development has gone — and where it stands to go in the future. He cites everything from Buckhead Atlanta, to Ponce City Market to Porsche's new airport headquarters as proof the money is heading elsewhere. Perhaps his most compelling point comes with the following paragraph:
"I don't think it's a coincidence the Turner Field area remained underdeveloped for so long — especially in the 17 years since the stadium opened for the 1996 Summer Games, but also going back to the opening of Atlanta Stadium in the mid-1960s. Yes, there are limitations for an area that is busy 81 days a year but lacks a central attraction the other 284. But did Atlantic Station, or the Beltline corridor, to name two examples of projects that have surpassed the Turner Field area in the past decade and a half, start with an anchor that even approaches what a major-league stadium offers?"