(WHNT) — North Alabama’s dream of having a zoo is one step closer to reality thanks to a $1 million pledge from Lansing Companies.

According to a news release, the company will be involved in every step of the journey alongside the North Alabama Zoological Society (NALZS), in addition to the $1,000,000 contribution. A spokesperson for the zoo told News 19 the contribution reinforces Lansing’s trust in the project.

“We knew this could be a possibility, but it was Lansing’s discretion,” said NALZS spokesman Ethan Fitzgerald. “NALZ feels their decision to give us $1 million towards the purchase of the property reinforces Lansing’s trust in us and all the work we’ve done to lay the framework for the modern zoo in several decades.”

The money left to purchase the main portion of the land remains at $6.5 million. Fitzgerald said NALZS hopes to have a portion of the zoo completed in within four years.

“We love doing business in Alabama,” said Greg Lansing, founder and CEO of Lansing Companies. “Everyone has made us feel very welcome. The entire city of Huntsville staff is working in a collaborative effort on the best interest and best development for the community. A rarity in today’s world.”

As previously reported, NALZS will build the zoo on 279 acres of land in Limestone County. The exact location will be north of Martin Line Road next to Interstate 65, south of Tanner.

In a Facebook post, NALZS Executive Director Ethan Woodruff said, “while the tourism and attraction value is often the first impression with zoological park developments, a modern zoo and aquarium is focused on being an educational, conservation, and recreation institution.”

“Greg Lansing and his wife Laine see the importance of all these attributes and are excited to support these being added to our community where the Lansing’s are growing their company,” Woodruff concluded.

For more information on the next steps for the North Alabama Zoological Society, click here.