Fittingly, Tuesday’s meeting on plans to repair the crumbing town waterfront in Oak Bluffs took place at the same time as the Presidential Inauguration in Washington D.C., when Barack Obama spoke of the importance of rebuilding the nation’s roads, bridges and infrastructure.

The parallels were literal and figurative. Earlier this month the town applied for $4 million in federal assistance through Mr. Obama’s economic stimulus plan, aimed at providing a boost to the sagging economy while creating new jobs.

The start of the meeting was delayed so approximately 20 town and state officials could watch Mr. Obama’s inauguration speech on a television brought into the conference room of the Oak Bluffs library.

Then it was time to address the topic of repairing the town waterfront, which suffered a major setback last February when a 30-ton retaining wall holding up a sloping bank along Sea View avenue suddenly collapsed. Since that time, the town has hired CLE Engineering to draft plans to repair the coastal system. A committee was appointed by selectmen to oversee the repairs.

The engineering firm has completed a baseline survey of the coastal bank and studied offshore elevations. At a special town meeting last month, voters agreed to pay the firm $75,000 to perform a sediment transport study, which is needed before plans to repair the coastal bank can be completed.

Hosted by the Oak Bluffs conservation commission, Tuesday’s meeting was technically a pre-permit application session with the state department of conservation and recreation. But it was also a chance for various town and state agencies to coordinate their efforts and head off conflicts.

Other projects currently under way for the shoreline include a fishing pier with walkway, a comfort station renovation and the Steamship Authority building renovation. Attending were representatives from the SSA, the state coastal zone management agency, department of conservation and recreation, town selectmen, parks and recreation commission and the recently created waterfront committee.

The meeting began with a presentation from Doug Cameron, assistant director of the office of fishing access, who discussed plans to build the new fishing pier adjacent to the ferry terminal. The project will be paid for through general bonds from the state, he said, and would remain as close to water level as possible.

He said the town will have an opportunity to comment on the plans in the coming months.

“We want to make sure we build something that fits in with the surrounding area,” he said.

Nancy Phillips, newly elected chairman of the town parks commission, presented early plans for refurbishing the clay and brick welcome area near the terminal. She said any plans for the waterfront should include improving the welcome center, which provides needed services and restroom facilities.

“The two most identified problems at the terminal are a lack of parking and a lack of bathrooms,” she said.

Ms. Phillips said the building could be lifted several feet off the ground so it would be more accessible for people with handicaps, among other things. She said the town has already received $300,000 from the executive office of energy and environmental affairs to repair the bathroom and welcome area.

But conservation commission chairman Joan Hughes said digging into the coastal bank to raise the building could create new structural problems. While she said she was not opposed to improving the building, she said the priority must be stabilizing the bank.

“This is a coastal bank and a fragile coastal bank . . . digging into it may not be in the best interest of the [waterfront],” she said.

Kevin Mooney from the department of conservation and recreation said the town might be eligible to receive state or federal funding for a new boardwalk from the steamship terminal down to the town harbor. But he also said officials should first come up with engineering plans to stabilize the bank before exploring new amenities.

“I can say the seawall is a high priority with us . . . the boardwalk is not. We may be looking at a five or ten-year project before everything is completed. During that time, the town may go through a number of state and federal agencies, and money could very well come from a variety of different sources,” he said.

After the meeting Ms. Hughes praised the gathering as essential to the project.

“It helped a lot, no question. There are so many parts to this project that must eventually fit together. Just having everyone in the same room today gets everyone on the same page . . . now everyone knows who to call if they have a question or want to share information. We need everyone to work together on this,” she said.