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Buffalo Zoo officials are expected to take the first big step next week toward their goal of building a new zoo, perhaps on or near the downtown waterfront.

The Buffalo Zoological Society board will vote Tuesday morning on approving a feasibility study to relocate the zoo from its cramped facility on Parkside Avenue.

Zoo officials have scheduled a news conference Tuesday morning to make a "significant announcement," and board President Donna M. Gioia confirmed that the announcement will follow the board vote on a feasibility study.

"Our board is for it," she said. "It's just that we haven't taken the vote."

No site has been pinpointed, but zoo officials seem enthusiastic about the possibility of a waterfront site.

Zoo officials would like to find an approximately 75-acre site that could be donated to the zoo. A new zoo would require about 45 acres, with 15 acres available for parking and another 15 for potential expansion.

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