Porsche brakes in town

Published 3:27 pm Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Columbiana’s downtown is usually a pretty sleepy place to be late at night.

But those who turned into bed early Saturday got a rude awakening.

Calm Columbiana came alive with roaring engines and screeching brakes during the filming of a Porsche commercial. Main Street got loud at times between the car’s 385 horsepower and cheering onlookers.

Still, the whole scene looked a little out of place to me.

Street racing, professional stunt drivers and Los Angeles film crews just don’t scream, “Columbiana.”

But it all starts making sense when you consider why Leo Ticheli Productions decided to shoot here.

Director Clay Morrison said his company was looking for a quaint, small town setting. He said they found what they were looking for in Columbiana.

“What we wanted was a classic Americana look, with the small town feel, but we didn’t want it to look rundown,” Morrison said. “Columbiana had the perfect combination of both. It was classic but kept up. It looks good.”

The city’s recently renovated sidewalks and street lamps provided the ambience Morrison wanted and were major selling points.

The production company considered several other downtowns, including Bessemer and Tuscaloosa, but ultimately decided Columbiana was tops.

Residents should be proud of the recognition. Most of the renovations that drew the company to town happened during the 2004 downtown revitalization.

An engraving at the corner of Main and College Streets recaps the project: “Let this endeavor serve as an ever present witness that all things are possible when responsive government unites with concerned citizens to ensure the welfare and future prosperity of our city.”

It’s a poignant reminder of the power of teamwork and a good message for leaders to remember as they govern.