The people in the lot make up SkateMS, and on afternoons when the weather is nice, they all gather here at what they call interchangeably "The Slab" or "Mill Street DIY" to skate.
"We definitely don't want to be labeled as 'the Jackson skater culture,'" Amanda Ivers, a relatively new skater who manages Rogers Dabbs Chevrolet by day, says. "It's just easier for people if we put a name to it."
The group is more than just a name, though. SkateMS operated as a nonprofit from its inception in 2001 until just a few years ago. The organization has since watched several do-it-yourself skate spots rise and fall over the years. That included converted warehouses, and vacant lots with custom concrete structures, among other spaces.
Until Jackson gets a public skate park, SkateMS has dissolved its 501c3 nonprofit status to save what little money the group has toward building costs for the entirely do-it-yourself project.
"The Slab" is technically the private property of a local business owner, and people in SkateMS say they enjoy the freedom that this grants them to build. But the group's members are optimistic that the previous Lumumba administration's proposal for a skate park at Benjamin Brown Park can once again pick up steam, with the help of his son Chokwe Antar Lumumba, who had won the Democratic mayoral primary as of press time.
Occasionally, SkateMS will host fundraisers to cover the cost of the concrete and the group's share of property taxes. The most recent event was April 29 in midtown, featuring a lineup of bands such as Stonewalls and comedians such as Holly Perkins and Nardo Blackmon.
They're not in it for growth's sake, Ivers says. SkateMS plans to keep doing its thing "until somebody comes in and kicks us out and tears it down," she says.
"It's a wonderful thing to see neighborhood kids decide they want to learn how to skate instead of sell drugs or get involved with gangs," she says. "As long as we can build in this spot, it's going to keep growing and evolving, especially if we have more people that decide that this is a really good thing for the community."
For more information, find SkateMS on Instagram and Facebook.