AMASA — A manufacturing mill in the U.P. known for making courts for college and NBA teams received a federal grant to improve their efficiency.

Connor Sports manufacturing mill in Amasa has made basketball courts that thousands of college games have been played on throughout the U.S. The plant received a grant award check from the U.S. Forest Service.

“The requirements is either to replace fossil fuel or to upgrade existing wood energy systems,” said Don Peterson with Renewable Resource Solutions, “to be more efficient. We’re not just looking at utilizing wood but using it in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way.”

The money Connor Sports received will be doing just that. Their boiler system will now be automated instead of manual, which will reap several benefits on multiple levels.

“It’s going to allow us to reduce the amount of fuel that we burn,” said Connor Sports Director of Sustainability Jason Gasperich, “in terms of fossil fuels because we’ll now be able to heat other facilities on the property that aren’t currently heated with wood biomass and the emissions will be a lot cleaner because of the continual computer monitoring of the system.”

Connor Sports has recently re–focused their business on four pillars. One of those is called the champions of environment.

“This is a project that ties into that so nicely,” added Gasperich, “because what it does, it allows to go out and talk about sustainability to people that might not normally be thinking about it and really push that message out. What we’re ultimately trying to do is to use the influence of the sports industry to create change in the marketplace and in the world. Ultimately the goal would be to make the world a cleaner and better place for everyone.”