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LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – The North Alabama Zoological Society is working with the Lansing Companies to purchase and develop land for a North Alabama zoo. The project’s success is contingent on acquiring land and funding.

“It really all depends on the land,” said North Alabama Zoological Society’s spokesperson Ethan Fitzgerald. “Once you have the land, a lot of funding opportunities open up.”

In August 2021, the North Alabama Zoological Society announced that 279 acres of land in Limestone County would be the site of the new zoo. Fitzgerald said the spot north of Martin Line Road next to Interstate 65, just south of Tanner has been taken off the market.

Fitzgerald said that even if the Limestone County property is not purchased for the zoo, the project will continue to move forward with their development partner Lansing.

“We still have a great relationship with the Lansings, and we have actually developed relationships with other potential developers,” Fitzgerald said. “So, we’re not just putting all of our eggs into one basket with the current proposed site.”

The Lansing’s have pledged a million dollars to the project. Six million more are needed to get construction started.

“There are a lot of different grants and conservation groups that would work with us and accelerate this project,” Fitzgerald said. “We’re one community partner away from making this a fast-tracked project.”

Once land is purchased and the money is raised, Fitzgerald said construction of phase one of the zoo would likely begin within a year or two.

Fitzgerald did not disclose where any backup properties for the project might be located. While they plan for a zoo, the North Alabama Zoological Society will continue working on conservation projects and running summer programs for kids.