It’s been more than a month since the city of Lewiston received its one response to a request for proposals to sell the Androscoggin Bank Coliseé. No name was ever released, no details disclosed, no financials figured; the city acknowledged receipt, and went along with its business.

We’re surprised the RFP yielded even the single response. The Coliseé’s woes are well-known, as are the fiscal sustainability problems for small and mid-size arenas, which is why most are subsidized or outright owned by government. Taxpayer funds are the infusion of life, as it were.

Even more surprising, though, has been the secrecy about this mysterious response. Most municipal RFPs, although simpler than the major transaction selling the Coliseé would entail, are straightforward: The language is drafted, the request is circulated, responses are received and decisions made.

Yet the city isn’t talking. The latest entity to ask, MaineBiz magazine, was told – according to a recent front-page story – the details of the offer are still private. Some believe acquiring the old Central Maine Civic Center is the “best move” Lewiston has made, the article quoted City Administrator Jim Bennett as saying.

Maybe. And there are others who believe the city bought itself a lemon. But that’s beside the point.

Bennett, in the article, says the city hasn’t committed to selling the Coliseé. So why the sudden code of silence regarding this mystery offer? We knew the city did this with low expectations, as the RFP was seemingly more the fulfillment of a campaign promise than an honest effort.

We also know the Lewiston Urban Civic Center Enterprises board, known as the “Lucky” board, was due to receive information about the response on July 10, and then issue a recommendation to the City Council.

If the offer received in late June was stunning, the city’s news conference introducing the new owners would have already occurred. If the offer was unacceptable, then there’s little harm in saying so, as that was the anticipated response in the first place.

But by sitting, like a mother hen, on this response, the city indicates it’s not overwhelming, but yet intriguing enough to require serious thought. Which means somebody has perhaps come up with a creative solution for the Coliseé property, one neither easily interpreted nor predicted.

Now our curiosity, and the community’s curiosity, is really getting piqued. So c’mon, Lewiston.

What have you got?


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